1. It’s your constitutional right.
The 4th Amendment to the Constitution protects us against unreasonable searches and seizures. Specifically, the 4th Amendment guarantees, “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” You have the right to refuse searches anywhere and anytime, so long as you aren’t crossing a border checkpoint or entering a secure facility like an airport. Don’t be shy about standing up for your own privacy rights, especially when police are looking for evidence that could put you behind bars.
2. Refusing a search protects you if you end up in court.
It’s possible that a cop might search you anyway when you refuse to give consent, but that’s no reason to say “yes” to the search. If there’s any chance of evidence being found, agreeing to a search is like committing legal suicide. Agreeing to a search kills your case before you even get to court. If you refuse a search the cop will have to prove in court that there was probable cause to conduct a warrantless search. This will give us a greater chance to win your case. To preserve this right, always say “no” to a search.
3. Saying “no” can prevent a search altogether.
Sometimes cops are on fishing expeditions or are just flat-out bored at work. If you remain calm and say no, there’s a chance they’ll back down and leave you alone. It’s a waste of time to conduct a search that won’t hold up in court.
4. Searches can waste your time and damage your property.
Do you really have time to sit around while a cop goes through all of your belongings? Cops often spend 30 minutes or more on vehicle searches and even longer searching homes, and don’t count on them to be careful with valuables or to put everything back where they found it. Often times cops leave a car or home looking like a burglar tore it up. If you waive your 4th Amendment rights and agree to be searched you will have few legal options if any property is damaged or missing after the search. Just say “no.”
5. You never know what they’ll find.
Are you really 100 percent certain there’s nothing illegal in your home or vehicle? You can never be too sure. A joint roach could stick to your shoe on the street and wind up on the floorboard. A careless acquaintance could have dropped a baggie behind the seat. Something could have fallen out of the pocket of that guy you gave a ride to last week. Try telling a cop it isn’t yours, and they’ll just laugh and tell you to put your hands behind your back and arrest you anyways. If you agreed to the search, you can’t challenge the evidence. But if you’re innocent and you refused the search, we have a great chance in court.
Remember that knowing your rights will help you protect yourself, but no amount of preparation can guarantee a good outcome in a bad situation. Your attitude and your choices before, during, and after the encounter will usually matter more than your knowledge of the law. Stay calm no matter what happens, be polite to the officer, and remember that you can always report misconduct after things settle down.
Also remember that these rights are the foundation of freedom in America, and they get weaker every time we fail to exercise them.
JUST SAY NO TO SEARCHES.
If you have been arrested after a search of your home, car, or person in Galveston County, contact an experienced Galveston County criminal defense lawyer to fight your case. We can often beat or minimize the damages of an arrest, and fight for you in court. The experienced Galveston County criminal defense lawyers at Zendeh Del & Associates, PLLC will be on your side and looking out for your best interests.
Don’t wait, call today. Calls are answered 24/7 @ (409) 204-5566.