Should You Allow the Police to Search Your Home or Vehicle?
If the police knock on the door of your home or pull you over and want to ask you some questions, it is your right to politely decline (other than providing basic information that helps identify you). Further, if the officer asks to enter your home, search your home, or search your car, you are well-advised to again politely decline the offer. Without a warrant – or probable cause to do so – the police need your permission to proceed, and there is very likely no good reason to allow them to search either space.
While an officer needs probable cause to stop you in the first place and needs further probable cause to search your car or home, there is no exact definition of what probable cause is, which leads to plenty of iffy scenarios. The police have the right to pull you over or ask you questions at your home – if they have a compelling reason for doing so –and this is called a detainment (it is not an arrest). The idea behind such detainments is generally to obtain probable cause for proceeding with a search and/or arrest, and this is why exercising your right to remain silent is an excellent idea. The two overarching principles guiding detentions include:
The detention must be brief (allowing the officer the opportunity to ask a few questions about the crime in question).
The detention cannot be predicated on a hunch or simply because the officer wants to stop and/or question you.
The Police Ask to Search
You would likely be surprised how often a simple statement – such as mind if I look? – from a police officer results in a positive response. It is undeniable that the very fact of being stopped by the police is stressful and intimidating, and many people feel like they cannot say no.
If the police ask to search, however, you do have the right to say no. If the officer had probable cause or a search warrant to do the searching in the first place, he or she would not need to ask. As such, you are well-advised to remember your rights, refuse the search, exercise your right to remain silent, and consult with an experienced Gatesville criminal defense lawyer as soon as it is possible for you to do so. It is important to note, however, that if the police see drug paraphernalia on your dashboard – for example – this almost certainly gives them the probable cause necessary to search your vehicle.
Seek the Legal Guidance of an Experienced Gatesville Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are facing a criminal charge of any type, Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Gatesville, Texas, is a savvy criminal defense lawyer who has the experience and skill to help craft your most solid defense – in pursuit of a favorable case resolution. Your case is important, so please do not wait to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.