Should I let them search?
It is never a good idea to consent to a search and seizure by a police officer, even if you believe you will be arrested or treated more harshly if you don’t consent. There are a limited number of reasons that justify a police officer’s decision to search a private citizen or their property without a search warrant. Consent is one such justification. If you provide that officer with consent to perform a search, there is little your attorney will be able to do if that officer finds something incriminating. However, if you do not consent to the search, and the officer searches in spite of your refusal to consent, anything that officer finds may be suppressed or excluded from your trial.
Of course, there is always the possibility the officer either has an independent justification for the search or that the officer will lie in his report, and maybe even on the stand, about such a justification. In those cases, you will have to rely on your criminal defense attorney’s experience, legal knowledge, and ability to cross examine a lying witness, as well as a little bit of luck to get the incriminating evidence excluded.
During any encounter with a police officer, it is wise to be polite, but firm, in your denial of their request to search your person or your property. The officer will not likely be happy that you are not submitting to his or her authority and may be looking for a reason to further detain you or even make an arrest. If the officer indicates he or she is going to search regardless of your consent, simply make it clear that you do not consent to the search and then back away from the officer. Do not physically resist or run away. You will be charged with Resisting an Officer either With or Without Violence. If you drive away, you will be charged with Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer. These charges will be in addition to whatever else you are charged with as a result of the search.
People often forget that, on the street, citizens are NOT on equal ground with the police officer. The police officer has a gun. The police officer will always have back up and support from other officers. The police can make the arrest and the prosecutor is probably going to believe them. This does not mean the jury will necessarily believe the officer over a citizen, but it does mean that if you give the officer any reason to arrest you, you could be spending the night in jail and your paycheck on a criminal defense attorney.
Contact a West Palm Beach, Florida law firm you can trust
Contact Scott Berry Law, P.A. at the West Palm Beach, Florida office by calling 561-370-7420 or contact the firm online.