When the Police Ask to Search You

When the Police Ask to Search You | The Blanch Law Firm

The number one mistake that we find our clients make in their criminal cases is speaking to the Police, FBI or other governmental authorities prior to hiring us. Never speak to the police about your case before you have hired a Criminal Defense Lawyer to defend you from the criminal charges being brought.


You must always cooperate with the police and should not resist arrest or search. But, make them do their job, so as to avoid being wrongly convicted for a crime you did not commit.. If the police merely ask if they may search you, your home or your car, tell them “not without a warrant.” In many situations the police do not need a warrant to search you. In these situations they will conduct a search whether you allow them to or not, assuming they have a good faith belief that you have committed a crime. Allow them to search you and be cooperative and respectful at all times .Just don’t volunteer to do anything the police have not ordered you to do. If you volunteer it, by giving verbal permission or by opening a trunk or suitcase for the police when they are merely asking you if you would mind doing so, you may lose your right to object to the admission of any evidence they uncover as a result of this search– because they did not find the evidence, you gave it to them on your own. Therefore, as far as your rights are concerned, there was no search and you cannot object to the evidence.


Know your constitutional rights. The Fourth Amendment requires police officers to have “reasonable suspicion” before stopping you and forcing you to answer questions. They can, however, engage anyone in a conversation and ask them to show them I.D., open a suitcase or trunk; but they cannot require you to do anything without a reasonable suspicion that a crime is a foot. In order make a full arrest, the police need something a little more than reasonable suspicion. For an arrest the police must have “probable cause” to believe that you are committing, or have committed, a crime.
Therefore, if the police ask you questions or ask you to do something, you have a legal right not to answer them, to walk away or to refuse the request. If you are ordered to do something, however, you must obey. But, having the police order you is an important part of ensuring your protections under the constitution. If you are not sure whether they are making a request or an order, you must obey them. Do not put yourself in danger by attempting to walk away from or disobey a police officer. And, if you feel like they are commanding you, then you protect your rights by obeying them.


Always let the police be the judge of whether they have reasonable suspicion or probable cause. Don’t argue with them or resist them in anyway. If you feel they are asking you to do something in a friendly, casual, non-threatening tone, and it is not clear whether they are commanding you or simply requesting something during a conversation, you may ask them whether they are ordering you or simply asking. If it is an order, you must obey immediately. If it is simply a request, you have the option of not granting the request. This will protect your rights. The officer may still stop you or open your belongings. But by invoking your Fourth Amendment rights, the officer will later have to justify his actions in court. If he violated your rights, any evidence obtained through this violation will be excluded from trial.


Remember to always use wise judgment. Obey the police and do not resist arrest. Acting out is dangerous and will only hurt your case. You can obtain more general information on our crime frequently asked questions page. Call our New York criminal firm if contacted by the police.


Call: (888) 8 BLANCH.

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