Consenting to Search: What You Need to Know
A seasoned criminal defense attorney becomes something of an expert when it comes to citizens’ rights. Unfortunately, too many people who don’t earn a living as a criminal defense attorney are not as familiar with their Constitutional rights. The result is that many people don’t realize what it means when they consent to a search or even that they have the right to refuse a search.
Know Your Rights: Legal vs. Illegal Search
Because people don’t understand a legal search versus an illegal search, a criminal defense attorney can spend quite a bit of their practice trying to poke holes in a police search that skirts the law. When you understand consenting to a search the way that a criminal defense attorney does, you may be less likely to consent and more likely to defend your rights.
Most police requests to search your property are involved with a traffic stop. As any criminal defense attorney would probably say, most people interact with the police by the side of a road. Unless the police have been tracking you and had the forethought to obtain a warrant to search your car, they must ask your permission to do so. The situation is slightly different if the police show up at your house. If an investigation has led them to your residence, then they have probably obtained a warrant.
Get the Facts Before You Consent to Search
Whether a request to search happens in your home or your car, the officer must have probable cause to conduct a search. A criminal defense attorney would argue that a cop’s “hunch” simply isn’t good enough to prompt a search. Instead, the officer must see or smell evidence of a crime.
An admission of guilt for a crime can also give the police probable cause. A good rule of thumb is to remain silent and talk to a criminal defense attorney instead. If the police ask to search your home or vehicle, tell them you do not consent, and seek legal representation as soon as possible.
Make Sure You’re Protected with Help From a Criminal Defense Attorney
The O’Connor Law Firm wants to make sure that you have all of the information you need before you consent to a search. Matthew J. O’Connor has been recognized as one of the top 100 trial lawyers in the U.S and he can help make sure that your Constitutional rights are being upheld.