Never consent to a search!
Most people do not know what to do, or what to say when pulled over and questioned by the police. Often, a person feels they have nothing to hide…WHATSOEVER. However, it is incredibly important for ANYONE, regardless of who they are – to know their rights.
If you are pulled over, and an officer asks to search your vehicle or your person, or for any other type of consent to search – EVERYONE SHOULD SAY NO! (Politely of course…but just the same, you should politely decline. Police officers are generally good at eliciting the consent they want. Usually, the encounter goes something along the lines of, “You don’t have anything in here illegal, do you?” If you say yes – you have given them probable cause to search. Obviously, do not say YES.
The natural response, however, to this question is “No, I do not have anything in here that is illegal.” The officer then generally will casually ask, as if it is of no importance, “then you don’t mind if I search your vehicle then, right?”An overwhelming number of people answer “No, I don’t mind if you search my vehicle, officer.” The natural, organic response to this question…asked to the ordinary person, is to not be confrontational to an officer and assert their right and say “No officer, I do not have anything illegal, but I do NOT give my permission to search my vehicle.” Most people, to avoid confrontation, simply say “No officer, I don’t mind if you search.” It is a natural reaction and the response most people given in this situation – even if they know there is some type of contraband in the vehicle. This is a trick by police officers to gain consent in order to not have to obtain a search warrant.
If asked, “You don’t mind if I search your vehicle then, do you?” Instead of the natural response of saying “No I do not mind officer.” Simply politely say No – I do not give you my consent. If he persists and threatens to obtain a search warrant, or to call drug dogs out to sniff the outer regions of the vehicle – politely tell him you do not consent and say nothing else. He may obtain a search warrant, or perhaps call drug dogs out to help him articulate the reason for the search – but if this happens, you likely have plenty of facts with which to argue the search violated your 4th amendment rights to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures. If you simply give your consent – YOU GIVE UP THIS RIGHT!
Even if you have nothing to hide, take the example of a wife driving her husband’s car, who has just had surgery and was prescribed pain medication. She doesn’t know he left some of it in the vehicle, and after giving her consent to search, the officer finds the prescription for her husband, and she can now possibly be arrested for being in possession of a controlled substance.
Therefore, it is always important to remember – (While noting to always be polite) NEVER CONSENT TO A SEARCH-PERIOD.