Although it may seem like you have to let law enforcement search your vehicle, you have certain legal rights that are protected by the constitution and may not be infringed upon. The following is information on those rights, and everything else you should know regarding vehicle searches in Pennsylvania. If you believe you may have been unlawfully searched or would like to discuss your case in more detail, call and schedule a consultation with a Bucks County criminal defense attorney today.
An officer or officers may stop a motor vehicle and ask the individual operating the vehicle for permission to search the entire vehicle. Without permission, they are not allowed to search such a vehicle.
If an individual allows a police officer on a routine traffic stop to search the vehicle, the officer has direction and permission, which is often very difficult to challenge at a later time, to search the trunk, the glove compartment, the back seat, the front seat and every area in the vehicle.
Even under the most innocent of circumstances, one never knows what someone else, a child, friend, or person who borrowed the car, may have left in it. When someone agrees to let an officer search their vehicle, they are giving police officers the ability to search anything and everything in the vehicle. The person gives the officers the ability to determine what, if any, crime they can charge him or her with.
There is nothing wrong with saying no. It is a constitutional right to say, “No, officer. I do not wish my vehicle to be searched by anyone without a warrant.” That is a constitutionally protected right and one that should be exercised at all times regardless, of how troubled one may feel telling the officer, “No, you can’t do this.”
Officers are trained to obtain consent from innocent individuals. They embarrass individuals into thinking that if they don’t allow the search, there must be something wrong. Without such consent, the officer is not able to obtain a warrant to properly search the car.
Any threat of future persecution or attempt to get a warrant is stopped because an experienced lawyer advises their client to, at all times, deny the police the right to search a vehicle regardless of the search circumstances.
In Bucks County, Pennsylvania officers will often try to seek the consent of an individual by pressuring them to allow them to conduct the search even without a warrant. In nearly all cases obtaining a proper search warrant takes the time and takes resources away from the police. In most cases having an experienced Bucks County criminal defense attorney on your side will put the government authorities to the test. The government authorities will then be required with the advice of an attorney to obtain proper search warrants through proper channels and at all times an experienced Bucks County criminal defense attorney can object to or challenge such warrants.
An officer often will not advise an individual, as an attorney would, that they have the right to remain silent and to not cooperate with the police at that time. They also have a Fifth Amendment Right to protect their own self interests. However it is not in the best interests of the police to give an individual their rights and it is not their job. So it is essential to get the knowledge and advice from an experienced Bucks County criminal defense attorney as soon as you can only then can you be sure that your constitutional rights not to cooperate with the police, not to give a statement and not to make out the government’s case against you can be protected.
As soon as you are contacted by law enforcement it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure your rights are protected and that you don’t do or say anything that could end up hurting you in the end. In addition, an attorney will be able to explain to you what exactly you are facing and how you should proceed within the legal system.
David Clark Attorney at Law