Should you let Police Search Your Car?

If you are pulled over for having a headlight out, do the police have the right to search your car?  The Constitution declares Americans are protected from illegal search and seizures, yet over a million vehicles are searched each year during routine traffic stops.  There is minimal reason to do so and there is no search warrant.  So why does this happen so often?  Because the majority of drivers are intimidated enough by police that they will always give permission when the officer requests to search the vehicle.

When Can Police Legally Search the Vehicle?

There are times when police can justify searching your vehicle without your consent or a warrant.  One such circumstance is when the officer can see something illegal in your car that is clearly visible; this is the “plain view” rule.  If that is the case, the officer does not need a warrant to search the vehicle.

Another time the police can search your car without permission or a warrant is if they have probable cause.  If, for instance, an officer pulled over a car for speeding and smelled marijuana when he approached the vehicle, he would have probable cause to conduct a search.  Probable cause doesn’t even have to be obvious.  If the officer feels there is something suspicious about your behavior or the vehicle, he can legally search the car.

If you are being arrested for any reason, whether for DUI, driving while suspended or other cause, you have no choice but to let the officer search your car.

How to Avoid a Vehicle Search!

Can You Refuse to have your Car Searched?

If you have been pulled over in a traffic stop but none of the above circumstances applies, you have every right to refuse an officer’s request to search your vehicle.  Even if you are confident there is nothing illegal to be found, you do not need to allow a search.  When the officer asks permission, politely refuse his request.  Remain calm, do not touch the officer in anyway, but state that you will not give consent for your vehicle or your person to be searched.  It is your right to do so.

However, be aware that the officer doesn’t have to just let you drive away.  He is now suspicious that you are trying to conceal something. If the officer decides she has reason to search the car despite your lack of permission, allow her to do so.  While the search is underway, however, state, “I did not give you permission to search my vehicle”, clearly and calmly several times.  If anything is being recorded, you will officially be on record as having refused the search request.

Another option the officer has is to hold you there until a search warrant can be delivered.  This can be quite time consuming and when the warrant does arrive, chances are you vehicle will be searched extensively.  If you are e confident you have nothing to hide and do not want to be delayed for an indeterminate amount of time, it may be simpler just to let the officer take a quick look.  The choice is up to you.

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Comments 82 comments

Murat Saymaz 7 years ago

What If, after an accident, I ask from police officer to search the other driver' car who have tried to get into my car with a box cutter? and his response is I cant do anything illegal !!. this just happened to me 3 hours ago june 20th on route 145 N. The other driver walked away for minor 'road rage' fine!

Dy-lon 7 years ago

They might as well just make it to where a police officer has the right to search your car, because probable caues can mean anything. An officer could say that you look suspicious and boom, he can legally search your car.

Freddy 7 years ago

I was stopped by the police for a roadside safety check.

and the police gave my car a quick search they didn't find anything I just think its bull shit

After coming home to Illinois from Wisconsin

is that considered probable couse

Harold Turner 7 years ago

This is pretty terrible advice. ALWAYS refuse a search. It's your right. When people allow searches because they're afraid of being hassled or intimidated, they show police that hassling and intimidating people works. Don't encourage them!

djryder209 7 years ago

never consent to a search wether u have something to hide or not. and if they search without consent and find nothing file a complaint so it goes on record and maybe they will think twice before hassalling people.

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oldenuf2nobetter 7 years ago

No ,make them get a warrant.

Bruce F  7 years ago

I found teh author of this article misinformed. If you read Carrol v. United States, you will see if the officer has enough probable cause to get a warrant, then he does not need one.

Bruce F 7 years ago

Oops, I trasposed the "h" and "e" in "the". No matter, it seems the majority of the answers have spelling and grammatical errors.

TonyP profile image

TonyP 7 years ago from The SFV north of Los Angeles

The police can search your car if you are 'under arrest' the alleged violation they pulled you over for no matter how minor is an arrestable offense...they can arrest you right there on the spot for an illegal U-turn and then have the legal right to search....we Americans do not have any rights in these situations the law is so ambiguous that any excuse is a legal excuse for law enforcement, let them search do not hassle them because they love conflict that's why they're cops in the first place, remember..."most" are the ones in high school that had no friends, no girlfriends and were punked all the time, they are retaliating.

TonyP profile image

TonyP 7 years ago from The SFV north of Los Angeles

I said "most"

Scott O'Donnell 7 years ago

i was just stopped for a taillight.. he gave me a ticket n then asked to search my car.. i have drug papaphenelia in my car...of course i dont want to go to jail.. i refuse the search...he then brings a drug dog to scene of my taillight being out....hah stupid dog does 5 circles round my car n does nothing.. two cops n dog walk away n whisper stuff then bring dog back for a second try.. this time cop takes his hand and does circular motion on my passenger wheel well.. obviously signaling the dog to do his little drug dance, dumb dog starts barking n pawing on my passenger mirror... dummy.. the drug papaphenelia was located on driver door... the dog smelled my driver door 5 times n nothing..... WHERE R MY RIGHTS.. IT WAS A TAILLIGHT.. THAT'S ALL.. GIVE ME A TICKET N LET ME BE ON MY WAY!! so they impounded my car.. pending a warrant search. cant wait to go pick up my car and my paraphenelia charge.. haha

k. hobbs 6 years ago

my car was towed after being involved in an accident. the tow truck driver searched my car after he towed it to the impound lot. he found marijuana inside my purse and called the police. when i went to retrieve my purse from the vehicle, he called the police and they then asked to search the vehicle i was in. i got a ticket for possession because i admitted there was something illegal in my purse. my question is did the tow truck driver have the right to search or even be inside my vehicle after he towed it from the scene of the accident?

someone 6 years ago

I was arrested for a duii and mip of MDMA i had not been drinking, i had told the cop that i had smoked weed hours before i had drove i was arrested and not read my rights and when polled over the saw a pot pipe so they searched my car but with out my permission with out even asking me? Do i try to do anything about this?

someone 6 years ago

I had not done any MDMA that day but tryed it the day before other then that weed was the only thing in system i took the breath test and blew 0.0.

asdf 6 years ago

someone: if they saw the pipe, they had a right to search your car.

pissed off 6 years ago

i crashed my car by losing control and driving off the road. had 5 cops show up and were dicks to me, probably since i am 20.

pretext: arrested in highschool since the police thought i was high and had my blood drawn, although i was sober.

at the car crash the officer told me it was his right to search my car since i was involved in an accident. i refused saying that was bs, but than he said he was going to search my car anyways and anything he found would just be thrown out in court. was that legal? i hate my towns cops they have no moral groundings.

pissed off 6 years ago

also, does anyone else town post who is arrested in their towns newspaper and on their website. i did not find being arrested for being under the suspicion of narcotics when i googled my name all that amusing

TheLawyerLink profile image

TheLawyerLink 6 years ago

If you refuse a search, they will bring in the dogs and hold you there till the dogs sniff out something -- and they WILL "find" something, 100% of the time. Or, the police will SAY they smelled marijuana or alcohol, giving rise to probably cause. A person is screwed, no matter what. But, still, I say, "Make em work for it." Say no to the search.

chazz569 6 years ago

Our system is screwed, if they want to search you, they will find a way. If they want to charge you with something, they will find a way. Our rights are nothing more than toilet paper to them.

blkcat 6 years ago

thus why one should always have some sort of video/audio recording devices on them. Cell Phone, Camcorder, something. Thus you can show the judge what actually went down, rather than have them go on the police officers made up version of events.

It might not save your arse, but then again, it just might.

Rick 6 years ago

All the police have to do is claim they "smelled marijuana" when you opened your door. Boom, probable cause to search even if they lied, and the video camera can't record smells.

JimBob 6 years ago

Let's be honest - Any cop who attempts to violate your constitutional rights is an anti-American p.o.s. and doesn't deserve to live in this country, let alone wear a badge.

Local Guy 6 years ago

Wow I tried to give them multiple chances to prove me wrong but these guys are all PIGS, Courtesy Professionalism Respect which 1 do they have because I see none. Cops are the most illiterate people on earth, Ive never been arrested before but every time I bump with one of them is very sad the U.S. should work on the police department these people are scumbags

Pro 6 years ago

You're all idiots. Don't do illegal shit and you wont have anything to worry about.

RichieRich 6 years ago

The article is wrong; cops CANNOT get a warrant just because you refuse to give consent. hunches and guesses and such nonsense are NOT enough for probable cause that a crime is being committed. Unless the cop has ' articulable' grounds to believe that a crime is being committed, they cannot and will not get a warrant.

Cops LIE, all day long, and hope we swallow it. The cop in the video above lies and says that he has probable cause because he thought the guy threw ' something' out of a window. That was a lie; had it been true, he would have searched. It was a bluff, intended to get the driver to allow a search. As soon as the cop found out the guy knew his rights, he went away.

Cops are liars, bluffers and abusers of rights, and they have no conscience about violating the Constitution they have sworn to we must be ready to resist the lies and bluffs and demand our rights be respected.

NEVER ever give consent; if a cop asks for something, it means he has NO right to it legally, and is hoping you are ignorant.

To the morons who say' just do not break the law'..there are HUNDREDS of cases documented where cops simply lied and planted evidence and much worse. cops can never be trusted to do the right thing, and they must be watched closely to make sure they do not abuse the law any worse than they usually do.

Dave 6 years ago

I was stopped by a cop for speeding. When he approached my car he asked if he could search my car. I said no. (BTW- I had nothing to hide) He then asked if I had any weapons, guns, knives or drugs in the car. I said no. he then asked why cant i search the car then? I said because it is my constitutional right. I then asked him to you have probable cause? he said no. At that point he "pretended" to call for a canine unit. I asked, your calling a canine unit? Do you have probable cause to call a canine unit? he said no. Then he got frustrated and just said, "you said no and you can do that" and went back to his car. He wrote me a ticket and never called the dogs or searched my car. Bottom line is he tried to intimidate me but i called his bluff.

I called to make a complaint today but was told i need to do so in person. So i will during my lunch hour tomorrow.

Isa 6 years ago

My husband, good man with nothing to hide, a young Hispanic, was once pulled over for no apparent reason. The cop immediately asked for him to step out of the car. My husband asked to know what traffic violation took place? The officer said nothing, and still asked for my husband to step out of his vehicle. My husband knew something was not right and he locked the car door behind him. The police officer asked to search the vehicle and my husband refused. Absolutely no probably cause. The officer became angry with his refusal and called 2 other officers for back-up. My husband remained calm, and told the officer that he knew his rights and that he had no right to search his car and apparently no good reason to have pulled him over. There were a total of 6 people officers who responded. My husband stood his ground. They had him on the curb for over an hour and finally let him go. My husband was upset that they tried to intimidate him and it was obvious they judged him by the way he looked and the car he drove. So wrong.

Richie Rich 6 years ago

ISA: please convince your husband to go down and file a complaint, assuming he got the thug cops names...if not there still should be proof of who responded by the radio logs and one of the cops may have taken notes or filed a field any case do NOT tolerate this conduct or it will continue.

Detaining him for an hour is ILLEGAL and a violation of rights. If you had deep pockets you could sue in Federal court and that is a great way to get a cops attention and reform his illegal tactics and abuses of the People...cops do not fear much except force and lawsuits.

Complaints get entered into a cops record and when they pile up it gives people a tool to use in court when suing them, and for getting them fired or disciplined..just do not let the scum get away with it.

Cops are like most predators, they smell fear and use it against not fear them, but take a stand and they will back off...cops hate going to jail and hate losing all they have in a suit. File a complaint!!

know your rights 6 years ago

Just to let everyone know, the 4th amendment does give us the right to legal search and seizure of personal property however it does not give us any rights over searching or not searching public property. The reason that i bring this up is because yes a car is personal property and will follow under the 4th amendment but only when the vehicle is parked in your driveway or garage or on private property.

However once you get in your car and head out onto the road the 4th amendment does not apply any longer. Under the rules of the united states the roads of the us are public property and your car becomes public property as well. It may not be right but it is the law. Therefore, if you are pulled over and asked if you give consent to search your vehicle it doesn't really matter what you say because officers have the right to search with or without your consent and a warrant. Everything inside your car can be searched including the glove box. The only spot on the car that you can refuse is the trunk.

quotations profile image

quotations 6 years ago from Canada

It seems to me that you should never consent to a search. This does not mean however that you should resist a search, because even if a search is unlawful resisting can get you into deeper trouble. However you should verbally and unequivocally register your objection to the search. If they find something but had no consent and should have gotten a warrant, then the whatever they find will likely be excluded. If they should have gotten a warrant, but you consent, and they find something then you are SOL.

Haha 6 years ago

Legalize. Don't criticize

Jason 6 years ago

a car is personal property no matter where its located, i do not agree with your understanding of the 4th amendment ( know your rights ) if you own it then it should not matter if its in your drive way garage or outside a whore house lol, its still your car, the street it is on is public, but the public don't own your car. i have been asked 3 times to allow a search, and i did allow it, homo's took my fireworks hehe, i will never allow a search again unless i am going to be late for something and just want to get it over quickly. like what they say about drugs ( just say no ) to search requests.

Darcy 6 years ago

My son and his friends (5) were pulled over for a tail light being out. 5 boys 16 to 19 years old. The officer told them if they didn't let them search the car they would be held for 48 hours. They let him search. He pulled down the back seat and pulled beer thru. In the report he wrote they had alcohol in the back seat? first is it true they could have been held for 48 hours. Second isn't the backseat lie a lie?

Sherri 6 years ago

If there is no warrant for your arrest on cpic could police be carrying it around with them?

Sherri 6 years ago

If there is no warrant for your arrest on cpic could police be carrying it around with them?

cops suck 6 years ago

rude they have nothing better to do ! i am a veteran i came back from war im enjoying myself never been arrested im walking back from the bus stop as i dropped a friend off a cop follows me aka stocks me , im looking for where i came out of the mall we were at i was gonna go the long way n i decided not to n i got stopped by this retard cop he told me stand there n took everything out of my pockets n told me to sit down like a little kid wow

cops suck 6 years ago

so even if u dnt get pulled over or commit a crime they still messed wit u they even run your tag when ur car is parked is sad n i asked him did i do anything he says no u were looking "suspicious" n theres more to the story

cops suck 6 years ago

n to make a long story short he wastes my time i had to sit there for a while he takes the keys to my car n pops the trunk without asking me n then i have to prove that its my car wow while he calls his 6 other little buddies to cover him n he didn't find anything on my record oh n their biggest lies oh u have a warrant for your arrest oh u have been convicted oh your a criminal bs lies lies u can have crimes if u didn't do anything! n if u did u did ur time n it dsnt matter !

cops suck 6 years ago

n one last thing to the post who said cops wont mess wit u if u ve never done anything wrong i never dne anything n they mess with u dsnt matter to them i been pulled over for no reason n to them suspicion of narcotics

Pro 4 months ago

You're all idiots. Don't do illegal shit and you wont have anything to worry about.

Ralph 6 years ago

Some you people missing the point if you tell the police its ok to search and they do and find something you are completely screwed caused its legal. However, if you don't consent to a search and they call there dogs and find something then there is still room for a defense where a motion to supress can be filed. (Ex) a client was stopped for speeding the officer noticed him nervous and with cold sweats he ask him to search the car he denied the cops called the dogs. After 8 trys the claimed they got a hit they search the car and all they found was three oxycodone pills. So what did the dog hit on??? they cant smell pills especially when sealed in a bottle, since the man clearly denied to the search and the officer misinterpeted the dogs this made the search illegal which all evidence siezed was suppresed the state had no evidence had no case. If he would of allowed the search he would of face 3 years in prison. You have everything to loose and nothing to gain allowing a search.

Chris Hart 6 years ago

Check this out I was @ Scout Bar in Webster Texas long line in bathroom went to back deck to take a leak. Cops were walking the pl caught me. Fine they cuff mme search me find emptybag.Immidiatly ask for my keys ask where my truck is I wouldn't tellvtjem so they go in pl ans start pressing alarm button tol they find it search without conscent or warrant & claim they found.$? of a g of yeah. What Bs!

No one is really "safe" 6 years ago

Pro I hope you get searched for no reason so you can see how it feels. It is ignorant of you to even comment with what you are saying because it is clear that you are not reading half of these stories. If you don't have any real or legitimate advice for any of us than kindly keep your smart a** comments to yourself. Everyone else has been more than helpful to me with getting to know my rights and I thank everyone but "pro". Oh and pro, obviously you are no "pro" at reading or emotions because u can't read these comments or comprehend that most of these stories are not about a crime being committed! So the only conclusion I can gather about you Is that you actually came back to this site to comment 2 TIMES saying the same thing so you must have nothing else to do and u either are or related to a police officer. So keep your negative unhelpful comments to yourself.

SC 6 years ago

I got pulled over tonight and I pulled into a gas station parking lot that had closed for the night, the officer went to the passenger side and told me to get out of the car and got both of my friends and my licenses. I had 2 friends with me. The officer showed me that my license tag light was out, and then asked me if i or if either of my 2 guy friends smoke weed or have any and i replied no. Then he said he was asking because he smelled weed and told me to stay behind my car while he took my friend in the passenger seat out of the car to search him and then accused him of swallowing something so he calls for a dog and ask to search my car in which I said I would like to call my dad and have him there but he told me that if I don't consent that they would search anyways. So I then asked if I could have a lawyer present then and he said it wouldn't matter if I had one there or not because they weren't waiting for anyone to get there if I did call a lawyer. I never said yes or no to the search. And 3 different cops went through the same spots over and over after the dog "hit on my driver side" but his excuse for the search was the smell of weed. Anyways the only thing he found was my ADHD meds and oxycodone that wasn't in the right bottle cuz I leave the rest at home. This was all in the parking lot of a gas station, isn't that private property? He took the oxycodone and said he was keeping it as evidence until I come to the courthouse with the prescription that has my name on the bottle. It wouldn't be a problem to do that if I didn't work 2 jobs and have no time between the 2 and sleep. Not to mention that I think it's dumb to stress about going to pick up a few prescribed pills from the courthouse when I have no time as it is. But I only got a warning for my light. I just don't get how that was right when I never said yes or no and it was on private property.... Please let me know if I really am wrong about that??

drs 6 years ago

tonight my 14 year old son and i were pulled over for a headlight out,i politely advised the officer that i had noticed, and he took my license to his car, after about 5min or so he returned, he then asked me to step out of my vehicle mini van and follow him to his car,he then asked if i had anything illegal in the van i told himand absolutely not! we were returning from my sons practice feeling comletely confident i politely but clearly refused search, the officer then stated he was calling the dog. by this time there were 4 cops and a drug sniffing cur. they start circuling the van until the mut jumps on my shit and lets out some copdog whimper. i stayed steadfast in my refusal to search us or our van.they did both. they had me and my son detained on the side of the highway for an hour,wrecked the inside of our van,treated us like shit,and they never found a damn thing they also damaged my is this legal? what about pc. i have a tremor in my hands that was diagnosed essental tremor by docs and is disabling. was this his pc?

Supwassup 6 years ago

So I was with my 4 friends in a car at 1:30 am an we were all 17 years old, the cop had the two kids in the back of the car get out, an he searched their pockets. He then came back to the car an stated that my friends did say their was weed in the car, which their was. The cop then said "If theres weed in the car tell me now", then he pointed out a crumb of weed on the seat. My friend said their wasent any weed an I thought he had probable cause to search the car anyway since we were out past llegal curfew, my friend was to young to be driving kids, he saw a crumb of weed, and the kids told him there was weed in the car. So I told him the truth an gave him the bag of weed an my friend got arrested for possesison, Im just wondering, would he have been screwed anyway? or did I throw him under the bus?

jamie arnold 5 years ago

how bout when a person has a warrant for unpaid restitution, was seen in the vehicle but at the time of arrest not near vehicle, and the vehicle was on private property. is it legal for a cop to search then? with no consent, no warrant? the unpaind restitution was for an old car accident.

Please Answer 5 years ago

Can a police officer hit my car from behind if i am completely stopped at a red light if they have a warrant?

silverwind 5 years ago

Don't give any law enforcement any consent to anything. All they are is American gustapo n violators of our rights. If u r one of those nieve morons who think u have any rights in this country think again and pay attention to current events. Unless u got green (n I don't mean bud)the only rights u for is the right to stand up for yourself n that's weak at best. Make the nazi regiment work foe their pay n just say no TO EVERYTHING n let em make themselves look like the idiots they are. It's time we took a stand against the bull**it. Then fight fire with fire.90%of cops need to be in prison so let the pot(not the kind u smoke)call the kettle black n see wuts up :-) (howz that for a mugshot Dick Tracey

Sean 5 years ago

I've been a law enforcement officer for over 20 years, and my response is NEVER consent to a search. If the officer has pc, then make him get a warrant. If we smell marijuana or see an illegal substance, then we don't need a warrant anyway. So, the moral of the story is just so no in a nice way.

Ruth 5 years ago

My son and his friend were standing outside another friends house talking. The police arrived, cuffed my son and his friend. They then proceeded to go into his pockets to get his car keys. My son stated numerous times that he did not consent to any searches but the cops took the keys and searched his car anyway. They found nothing, so then they called for the sniffer dog. The dog circled the car many times without a "hit", the cops then went back into his car and searched it again. Eventually they found the tip of a marijuana cigarette(about 2 cm in length) under a seat. They took him to jail and have charged him. They have released him without having to pay bail. This is an illegal search right? And why doesn't he have to pay bail? Is it because they know they weren't supposed to search and arrest him?

Rachael 5 years ago

I was in an accident, a truck backed into me while pulling out of a parking spot while I was driving through. I called the Police so that a Report could be written up in order for me to do a claim on the person who was at fault's insurance.. why should my insurance premiums go up because he can't drive, right? Well, I went to my car after the police arrived to get the registration, insurance card, and my ID as they requested and in order for them to do their report. I sat in my car to get the paperwork for the officers and while I was leaned over to reach in my glove box one of the officers came up and opened my car door without announcing her presence or asking permission. My window was cracked open and she didn't even announce her self or or her intentions much less ask for my permission. I would like to make an official complaint to my local Police Department. Do I have grounds to make a complaint against her because of her blatant dismissal of my rights and lack of respect for my personal property? I live in Starke, Fl and it is very common for officers to violate individual rights and freedoms here but I would like to make sure that I have grounds to do so. I was not pulled over and I was not at fault (to their obvious dismay), I am the one who called; but they tried to do whatever they could to make me the at fault driver without success...

99 vic 5 years ago

I got pulled over 3 times within 1 month for driving a Crown Victoria(former police car). Each cop asked for ID and so forth. Each cop asked where I got the car from and said that they pulled me over for possibly impersinating (sp) a cop. They EACH said in a different way, get a different car, or face the same senario over and over again. I was "tailed" and pulled over repeatedly for 2 years. NO TICKETS! They hate the fact that the car gains respect on the road. This respect they had to earn through police accademy. Bullies with badges

Smiley 5 years ago

I was stopped because I had left a known drug dealer house and then the police officer search my vehicle and then asked me to be a snitch.

unsure of my rights 5 years ago

I was sleeping in the passenger seat of my car in a McDonalds parking lot at 5am. The guy who was driving my car fell asleep. The manager then called the police because neither one of us would wake up. The police came and woke us up. Next thing I know we are both being arrested for possession of schedules narcotics. I do not remember giving consent to search much less them asking to search. My question is is it legal for them to search me, the passenger, when i was barely conscious, because they found pills on my friend who was driving the vehicle. He got charged with several different charges and I had 1/2 of a Xanbar in my pocket causing me to get charged with possession of schedule IV. They then proceeded to search the car and found 3 of my prescription ADHD meds that were not in the bottle. They ARE my medication and I DO have prescriptions for them but still got charged for possession of Schedule II Narcotics.

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Steelers840 5 years ago

ok so a buddy of mine ends up in a ditch during a snow storm. The officer on scene helped out a lot. No problems.. Get's pulled out the next day, and drives for home. As he's pulling into a small town doesn't notice the speed change sign. Cop pulls him over. (legitimate reason) Pulls him over asks for his license and registration and insurance. When he hands him the info he realizes that the last cop didn't give him back his proof of insurance. When the cop returns he tells my buddy that he could impound his car because of the no proof of insurance. Hands him the ticket. Then asks if he can search the vehicle. (mind you this is a canine cop) My buddy refuses the search because he knows his rights. The cop then asks him to get out of his car and decides to impound the vehicle. After he's out of the car . he tells my buddy he can call for a ride.. He calls me, ( was at the gas station down the street..because he was in need of gas.. after spending all his cash on the tow truck. I get there a second cop shows up and when I pull up the second cop is searching the vehicle. My buddy again states that he does not give permission to search his vehicle the cop tells us we are free to leave.

Never have a heard of such bullshit! He had nothing in his vehicle btw.. but the point is they impounded his vehicle because he refused the search. Now he has to go up and pay the tow charge and impound fees today. Such bullshit. NEVER EVER allow a search. They are going to do it anyway.. but never make it easy for them.. but always be polite and never touch the cop

Plan 5 years ago

I had my car searched illegally a few weeks ago. It wasn't even a traffic stop. I was going to get take-out food, parked my car, and before I got out of the car the officer pulled up. I had no idea what he wanted, but I was polite and asked him if maybe I wasn't parked in a proper spot, etc. He said no -- the parking spot was fine.

He asked for my license and reg, I gave it to him. He came back, said I've been a gentleman and cooperative, then asked me to step out of the car so he could speak to me. This was my big mistake, trusting a police officer and being cooperative. Instead of talking to me, he searched me, confiscated my wallet, put me in cuffs, and put me in the back of his cruiser.

Then he began searching my car. Soon, he was joined by another officer, then a third, and finally a supervisor pulled up. FOUR police were now crawling over my car like ants.

They searched my car for more than an hour, looking through every crevice in the seats, every inch of the car...until finally the moment of their great triumph: they found a small piece of broken glass buried beneath a whole bunch of stuff (books, work papers, tools) in my trunk, and arrested me for marijuana residue.

It was a tiny piece of broken glass, but it didn't matter. Worse, they released the info to local media as part of their weekly round-up of arrests, and it was printed. I almost lost my job because of it. And in the report, it says they found marijuana and a pipe in my car. WTF? There was no marijuana, just a tiny piece of glass that was not even functional as a pipe, buried underneath a whole bunch of crap. It was obvious I was not using it, nor could I use it if I wanted to.

Is this really the spirit of the law? Is this what law enforcement has come to, harassing people and jacking up max charges, then embellishing the reports?

My lawyer said they were "ripping," pulling people over and trying to make arrests. And when I was at the station, I knew why...the arresting officer told one of the other cops, "I told you I'd take care of you, I got you overtime."

Yes, they took a really dangerous criminal off the street that night. How do these guys even have pride in what they do, and how do they sleep at night and live with themselves?

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jEmSSnn01 5 years ago from NY

That is why it is important for everyone to know our constitutional rights so that we know what to do in cases like this, we will not be bully by officers however I agree that we must always be polite.

Darren 5 years ago

What can be done if a cop illegally search your car after u ask them Y are u wanting to search my car with out probable cause? and then cops forces u out the car detains u and make u watch him illegal search your car???

Edward 5 years ago

I have i funnie experience today's while i was on maryland a state police pull me out cause i speed 70 on a 65 limit then i live on ma he look at my plate and tell me to get out of the car and say did u know why stopped you i said no he says you was on a 55 limit then when you see the 65 you speed up to 65 that's 10 miles im like yes buy im on a 65 file limit he said i speed and he have to gave me a speed warning then asked me was the hurry i said nothing just drive a long way from mas i wannted to get back so he checked me and my friend that was on the car also asked me who.the car belong to i was driving my friends brothers in love cars and didn't know his full the officer makes a big deal about it and call to check the car with a dog they check the car and nothing is found after that my friend near me says something on spanish and the officer just screen bequit no spanish silencio! So i said u the boss and they show up like 3 more police and almost reap the car away searching the all interion and exterior nothing found and they dont even bother on ask me can i check your car that's why states polices been hate so much at the end he have no choice than let me go with a warning speed and the car all screw up with out reason i dont smoke, drink or any relative they just DoGs

DancingQueen 5 years ago

So tonight, I pulled into a gas station, and my favorite song was playing,so I cranked it, and just sat there, dancing in my seat. I saw the cops when I came in, they were there for someone else and I was like whatever, its not against the law to dance in my car. So i dance. one cop comes over, taps on my window and is like are you ok? and i turn the music down and say yes, i was just listening to my song. he keeps repeatedly asking if i'm okay and if I'm okay to drive and i say yes, I haven't had a drink all night,which was true. he says i didn't say anything about alcohol.and i said well, isn't that what you guys mean when you ask that? And then he proceeded to talk about seizures and stuff like that and i'm like I'm fine.^_^ then he asks if i have any warrents for my arrest, and im like no! and he asks to see my license so I give it to him and he does his little searchy thing, and i come up clean, and he gives me back my license and asks the name of the song and tells me he likes it and i'm free to go, to which I immeadiatly go to the gas station and get my coffee. Do police have the right to search you for warrents just like that?

Pabs 5 years ago

I have a question that i hope i might get the answer to here.

As we all know that every police officer has to take an oath to protect/serve and uphold the law.

We all know not all police officers are working to protect and serve you depending on the nature of the event they are faced with.

My question is this, if a person gets pulled over by the police but has not done anything wrong. While co-operating with the office and not being rude or showing any form of aggression they then ask to search your car.

Does that persons who is about to have their car searched have the right to search or to have that officer searched before consenting for them to carry out their action with your car. Who's to say that they may or may not put something in your car to make an arrest for their own personnel gain.

What ground does the citizen have with a scenario like this.

We all know that police officers have to make arrests and issue fines to show that they are doing their job no matter how big or small the offence maybe if an offence has been made at all.

I hope someone can tell me where we as citizens stand with this.

Thank you

profiled 5 years ago

I usually say no to consent. But cops will do whatever they can to get you to say yes. I have also been stopped walking from bus stop in tucson az. 2 squads pulled up made me get down on ground. I didn't even do anything. They searched me and my backpack cause they said I fit a description. They brought some witness and witness said that I wasn't the person. Cops were rude stained my white shirt and clothes from oil on parking lot then they didn't even apologize. I used to have respect for them. Now they are just as bad as any street gang

5-0 5 years ago

For Pabs,

An officer makes plenty of arrest without having to plant anything inside your vehicle. You have been watching way to many movies, I doubt an officer is going to jeopardize a career over a little marijuana when there are plenty of other arrest to be made.

For the rest of the people on here look up case law Carroll Doctrine (Carroll v. U.S.)

If an officer has Probable Cause, under the 4th amendment, he is not required to obtain a search warrant to gain access to inside the vehicle. Probable cause can be sight, smell, affirmative movement. And remember K-9 is only a radio call away if an officer really wants inside the vehicle and that would be considered an open air sniff.

So my suggestion to you would be quit smoking marijuana, hauling it, or drinking (pc for open container) inside the vehicle or before you drive.

Happy Hunting

stephen 4 years ago

I'm always pulled over for a search by police and I had often allowed them to search me. But out of those times I have been charged with something I had not done. I would let them search due to everyone saying if you respect the police they will respect you. Bull****. I finally told them they have no right to search my car. They threatened to call canine and I told him so then he left... WHy is it when I decide to stand up for myself they leave me alone?

RolloGigolo 4 years ago

5-0, your a punk and you'll get what you deserve; 187!

Happy Hunting Piggy

Kyana 4 years ago

From Pro : "You're all idiots. Don't do illegal shit and you wont have anything to worry about."

No, you are the one who is the idiot. Many a man has been arrested and done time and wasn't doing anything illegal.

Thisguy 4 years ago

5-0 I am 17 and I was arrested bc the coPs saw a gun in my back seat it was December 28th still hunting season I got held that enire night in jail bc he said that I stole the gun and I was released the next morning with my gun they do not have that right at all I hate pigs

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abcghillm 4 years ago

I was almost home and was looking for my lighter and the cop said I was swerving. I was briefly. I pull into my driveway in a car that belong to my roomate. I get out my ID and my roomate comes out and I ask where the insurance is at & he says its in the glove compartment and the cop gets it out. The cop asks if I have anything illegal in the car and asks if he can search the car and I said no, cause I always say no and asks why and I say its not my car & he says its my responsibility because I was driving the car. So he asks my roomate and he gives him permission and the cop finds some drug paraphenalia. Before that I had asked my roomate to get me some water and one of the other cops that showed up gives it to me and I'm petting my cats the back of the car just standing there and the cop looks in my mouth, nothing there. I didn't eat nothing. As he continues the search he just keeps getting more pissed off cause he can't find nothing after 20 minutes and walks to the back and starts choking me and I couldn't breathe screaming at me that I ate it...In the meantime he had called a female cop to search me and she arrived right after. Nothing. He is still screaming at me and says he's gonna call my PO officer and I told him he had no right to choke me like that and he said he could if I was trying to eat the evidence.,..This is like 30 minutes after he stopped me. I was wrong with the paraphernalia & am very pissed at my roomate cause I would of said no also. What do you think? There was residue and wasn't charged with possession. Should I just let it go?

Meh 4 years ago

Pros dad is probably a filthy pig.

When was the last time you called on a police officer and you ACTUALLY thought he was going to help you?

Now when was the last time you saw a cop and you were afraid? Even if just because you were going 3 MPH over the speed limit, or crossing a street with a flashing don't walk signal? Cops can't be trusted or let get away with the shit that they do.

sunny123 4 years ago

I got Pulled over today because I "looked out of place" in the neighborhood. So because of that they made me get out of my car and forced me to consent. I got the names of the officers...little did they know most of my family is in law enforcement and are very close to the "higher ups". All it took was one phone call and the cops had to explain themselves to their supervisers. Let's hope they handle things better next time.

Harri McNuggs 4 years ago

abcghillm --- Hell No! Do Not Let It Go!!! You march right down to that police station file that complaint!!!!!! It is true, cops are employees of the state and when they have a list of bad marks on their history then they lose credibility. I would say before even filing the complaint, talk to a lawyer about the abuse and see what case you can pull against the officer himself. Who knows you could be the next unsung hero for taking that crooked cop off the street.---

I always try to stay as respectful as possible when the police stop me ONLY because I believe you can't judge a book by it's cover.

Police Officers are still humans at their job. Some suck at it, some are just trying to get the next raise and will kiss ass for it, some are genuinely nice cops. However, NONE of them can help you when it all comes down to court. 100% Cooperation with the officer may result in things ending quicker, but when the judge looks at what happened it's not going be "OH. I noticed you gave everything up to the officer right away, very respectful and cooperative. Well, you seem sorry, so have a nice weekend! :)" It'll be more like "Joe Smith, you are charged with possession, how do you plea? (G) 5 years Minimum security prison sentece. *Bang*"

Just like most of these guys are saying. If a cop wants to search your vehicle (s)he will. Saying/asking "No, I do NOT consent to a search!" "Can I call my lawyer?" and "Am I free to go?" Are how you should answer just about every question they ask you.

I'm sure a few of you are aware, but here is a site that provides a superb amount of resources for activists who wish to change marijuana laws. One resource is the NORML FREEDOM CARD.

This is a card that states your constitutional rights for you at the first sign you think your rights might be violated. I usually hand it around the "Is there anything in the vehicle I should know about?" Yeah, MY FREEDOM!!!! :D

Peace, Freedom and Love, or whatever you can scrape off the bottom of a cop's boot, cuz it's all the same to them anyhow.

Kendall 4 years ago

I was pulled over because I ran a stop sign and I refused a search because it wasn't my car it was my moms the cop opened the car door and pulled me out because I was shaking so bad that was his probable cause I of course I was shaking I was scared.

Debbie 4 years ago

More and more rights are being taken away. My boyfriend was pulled over for speeding while driving my car. After getting ID officer removed me and questioned me about an addiction and charges from over 10 years ago. He then asks me to understand how he had reasonable suspicion to search my car and check for stolen items or anything illegal. I said no as I didn’t see how that gave him anything. No matter how legal I am I will never be given the rights I deserve unless I demand them. I knew I had nothing illegal nor had I done anything illegal. I refused a search because it’s my right and I needed to make a stand. And getting a warrant or a drug dog didn’t matter to me. I didn’t care how long it took. I had been helping my sister do some work and had her credit card in my possession along with mail from a neighbor that she ask me to pick up for her while she was out of town. If I had consented to a search I would have been arrested and until the truth could be verified it would have cost me time and money that I would not ever get back. I still have to pay taxes and I receive less than treatment. So it’s your right if you don’t demand it then it will be taken from you. It’s a matter of right and wrong not a matter of time. Demand your rights no matter what the cost. If you are doing nothing wrong giving up that right will not prove you innocent any more or less than asserting that right. Stop trying to use the rights of the innocent to get away with what you do. Assert your rights to stop the police from getting away with what they do.

JEW 4 years ago

Can they search the car if the owner is not there in the car with the family member? Cuz the state trooper pull over the family member and said person was following to close to the car(which is bull) and state trooper ask for permission to search and family member said yes...but family member is not the owner and wonder if I can sue the state trooper for searching the car without asking me for permission. My phone # was on the paper on the title form in the glovebox and trooper could easily dail the #!

LawAbidingcitizen 4 years ago

I love that all of you were doing something illegal and DEMAND your rights haha Without police the streets would be filled with evil men killing, stealing and raping. Stop making their job harder than it already is. Do the right thing and stop being a criminal. Respect law enforcement and they'll respect you back.

abcghlllm 4 years ago

@harry: Thanks for the info. I don't know why I'm nervous about filing this time,but I need to. I'll let you know. I've filed complaints to Internal Affairs before and got results in a different county and got results. This county is very corrupt.

allen 4 years ago

there was a suppect illegaly drove onto my property and shot a gun 300 feet north of my house (this in the counrty) and i was out side of my house by my pickup and got a camera out of my house to get the camera, the suppect then drove back down my drive by me and saw me then giving me the finger then shot the gun at me over my head and speed away, i called OHP Oklahoma highway patrol to report it because the Kingfisher sheriff dept will not do anything about it ,on the other time suppects came up to my house shooting at me and theating me,the deputy that came when the suppect shot at me missing me by 4 foot did not know what to do about it and said (what the hell do you want me to do about it) and he did not file a report,i did file charges ,the sheriff knows who did it, told me who did it and who was behide ,two deputys with the kingfisher sheriff dept told me that it was OHPs job to enfore the laws in kingfisher county that they the kingfisher shiriff dept was too bizy to mess with it. back the supethat shot at, two sheriff duptys came as i was talking them (this it outside on my property) the deputys wanted to search my pickup i said no and they theaten to take me to jail if did not, they put there hand on my slaming my agaiunst my pickup injureing my foceing my arm behide my back, Ialso have a broken wrist with a cast and nenere damage from a kingfisher sheriff deputy putting handcuff SO tight for over 30 minutes that it broke my wrist and nerve damage this was dec 1 2011 i told the deputy blackenship that the cuff were TOO tight and i was in severe pain the deputy said (I DONT GIVE A SHIT) i file felony charges against him ,the sheriff dept, kingfisher county, the state of oklahoma, with the sheriff dept ,county da , OSBI,FBI , us justies dept, ACLU and nothing is getting done, i have tryed to get a lawery but they do not want to get involed and 3lawerys said cops are aboue the law in oklahoma and kingfisher county

JustMe53 3 years ago

My son's friend was pulled over for a headlight being out while my son was a passenger in the car. Then the police officer proceeded to pursue further, as they do with any stopping someone. It is no longer a simple matter of just stopping you for a headlight being out. They automatically pursue it further. Even if you refuse the police officer to perform a search without cause, as in this case, they intimidate with saying that they could cuff you and take you down to the station, your choice!

yanked out 2 years ago

my question is; is it legal for cops to open your door and yank you out of the vehIce without asking or even a warning?

priss 2 years ago

question we got pulled over in our drive way and did the police have right to search our van? I just wanna know plus it is my parents house and driveway and we were wearing seat belts and diving speed limit and the cops drove by us they were not driving behind us and we were just pulling up near my parent house just pulling in then they turn around and come pull up my parents drive way

tracy phillips 2 years ago

Is it legal for a cop to pull you out of your vehicle and throw you to the ground

troubled 2 years ago

Law came to my house searched it with my concent. Then wanted to search the vehicle in the driveway that I do not own, had me write out a concent for the search of it, am I responsible for what they find in the vehicle,? Even though my name is nowhere on it at all?

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