In most states including North Carolina, law enforcement officers aren’t required to take out a search warrant to go through your vehicle during a traffic stop. Police here in Statesville and elsewhere in the state need only to have probable cause to be able to do this. This means that law enforcement officers must be presented with evidence or facts that you’ve engaged in criminal activity for such a search to be lawful. There are steps that you can take to reduce your risk of having your vehicle searched.
Being calm, courteous and responsive to a law enforcement officer can go a long way. You should greet them warmly when they first approach your car. You shouldn’t argue with them if they accuse you of some type of a traffic-related offense. You also should avoid admitting to any infraction that law enforcement may accuse you of as such admissions can be used against you in a court of law.
A police officer must have reasonable suspicion to ask you to step out of your car, detain and frisk you. If law enforcement tries to pat you down, then you may want to verbally state that you’re refusing their search. You should never become agitated or physically violent with them. This could result in you facing felony assault on a police officer charges. It could also get you beaten up or tased by law enforcement.
You may also want to deny their request if a law enforcement officer asks to search your car. While you may think that it’s okay to allow them to look through your car if you have nothing to hide, the fourth amendment of our constitution gives you the right to refuse such a search.
It shouldn’t send a message to anyone that you’re guilty just because you decline to consent to a search of your vehicle. Many motorists are conditioned to believe that it does, and therefore, give into such requests.
You should know that some police officers will move forward in searching for your car despite you refusing for them to do so. If they find incriminating evidence against you, then it’s likely that your attorney will encourage you to have such evidence thrown out. A criminal defense lawyer will know when it’s ideal to file a motion to suppress in your Statesville case.