A traffic stop alone doesn’t warrant the right of a police officer to search you, your car or detain you. You don’t have to agree to a search and seizure – that’s you’re right under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. But how does that really plan out?
Let’s say you choose not to cooperate – i.e., don’t let the officer search you or your car? The officer may lose his composure and try to create a situation where there is “probable cause.” Probable cause is the evidence needed to justify a search and depending on the situation and what’s at stake, the officer may be insistent.
• The fact alone that you don’t agree to a search or seizure doesn’t create probable cause. isn’t enough to warrant search and detainment. So the officer may try to create probable cause by: Searching in your car for things in plain sight that may be illegal such as a gun, cartons of cigarettes without proper stamps or fireworks.
• Be vigilant in searching your vehicle and your license/registration for problems.
• Observing something amiss, that may be suggestive of a crime.
Oftentimes when people are stopped by police, they are nervous and believe they have to do what they’re told, or else they will get in worse trouble. Sometimes it is better to stand your ground, cooperatively and calmly, so that things do not escalate. And while that’s easy to say, in real life it can be hard to do. If you’re ever involved in a situation that escalates and leads to your arrest, get yourself the best criminal lawyer you can find. You don’t want to go it alone when it comes to criminal matters.