A question I have always wondered is why so many people voluntarily consent to a search when asked by a police officer. So, for all of you wondering whether you should voluntarily give consent to
A question I have always wondered is why so many people voluntarily consent to a search when asked by a police officer. So, for all of you wondering whether you should voluntarily give consent to search, my short answer is NO.
I don’t know how many clients that I have had who gave voluntary consent to search their vehicle who (either known or unknown to them) had contraband in their possession. Even if you know YOU didn’t put anything illegal in your vehicle, you can’t possibly know what your passengers had in their possession when they got into your vehicle or if they left anything when they got out of your vehicle. That is why I say unless you are going to search each and every passenger NEVER VOLUNTARILY CONSENT TO A SEARCH.
Often when I ask my clients why they consented to a search they inevitably tell me that they just wanted to cooperate and the officer would have searched them anyway. My first response is "why would you want to help someone find a reason to arrest you?" My second is refusing a search is within your rights and a warrantless search is per se unreasonable unless it meets one of the exceptions to the rule (which are too complex to list for the purposes of this article). However, if you voluntarily consent, no search will be seen as unreasonable.
Another thing to consider is if the officer has pulled you over for say speeding and wants to search your car, the officer can not keep you there for an unreasonable period of time while requesting a search warrant if it has nothing to do with what the officer pulled you over for. So, if you have been arrested on a criminal charge in Missouri or would like some more information relating to criminal charges check out my website at stlcriminalattorney.com.From the author: St. Louis Criminal Attorney