If you face drug charges because an officer searched your car, you may be asking yourself if they had the right to search to begin with. A lot of people meet police with uncertainty when it comes to traffic stops. They do not know when or if they have a right to refuse a search.
How should you handle a traffic stop that involves a request to search the vehicle? According to Flex Your Rights, police officers cannot search your car based on a hunch.
How can you handle a police encounter?
When an officer pulls you over, try to stay as calm as possible. Greet him or her and accept any tickets without argument. Often, the officer may try to coerce you into a confession, but you should not answer it. For example, if a cop asks you how fast you drove, you can always assert your right against self-incrimination. Just answer no because anything you say, the cop can use against you.
How do you assert your rights?
The Fourth Amendment protects your right against unlawful searches or seizures. For an officer to have reason to search without your permission, he or she must see, smell or hear signs of a crime taking place. For example, if an officer can smell drugs when he or she approaches the window, there may be probable cause.
Assert your rights calmly and politely. Do not cave to requests that sound like orders because police legally require permission. Always reassert that you do not consent to a search.
If cops search your vehicle without probable cause and your consent, the judge may suppress or throw out the evidence.