Friday, October 19, 2007

If you had 1,200 pounds of marijuana in the back of your semi, would you consent to a police search?

Supposedly this guy did, but it sounds really unlikely to me.

If Governor Perry hadn't vetoed legislation in 2005 requiring written or recorded consent for searches at traffic stops, it would be possible to know for sure.

10 comments:

jsn said...

We had a case recently where the officer asked the driver if she could look in his trunk. When she opened the trunk she found a meth lab. We are still scratching our head over that one.

Anonymous said...

Did the driver know what he was hauling?

Anonymous said...

People say yes hoping for a softer sentence for "cooperating" and also because they know if they say no all a cop has to do is get a drug dog there to get a hit on the car and then they can search all they want.

Yes or no, Texas allows searches very easily.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Actually 10:35, they're not supposed to wait for the drug dog longer than it takes to write the ticket if the driver doesn't consent to a search. Most drug dogs used on the highway are by drug interdiction units who have the dog with them when they get out of the car. I've heard of people who officers threatened with detaining them to wait for a drug dog, but to actually make somebody wait is detention without cause and would get the search thrown out.

And to 10:19, I don't know the answer - certainly my astonishment at the claim assumed he did know, but I guess if he were a patsy that would also explain it.

That's one reason I think everyone should say no to searches at traffic stops, every time. It's NEVER for your benefit - the only purpose is to find evidence to accuse you of something ... maybe something you didn't do.

And JSN, that gal sounds like a real moron; then, most meth addicts aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer!

Bottom line: what good are Fourth Amendment rights if nobody uses them? Say no to traffic stop searches, every time, is my advice. No good can come from consenting to a police fishing expedition.

JSN said...

The officer was a woman.

The police have been known to take cars apart during a search and then they say have a nice time putting your car back together. So saying no can have some unpleasant consequences.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Grits. Never, ever consent to a search of your vehicle. Never, not ever. No cop is ever looking to do you a favor on the side of the road. If they conduct the search anyway, anything discovered in said search is inadmissable. Ask the officer is you are under arrest. If you are not under arrest, leave immediately. No discussion, no hesitation. Leave. Police State, coming soon to a democracy near you.

Anonymous said...

I know they're not supposed to wait that long, but they will find a reason to keep you there until the dogs get there.

It happens all the time, as even you imply.

Anonymous said...

Most people are ignorant on the fact that they are giving up one of their basic rights from the constitution when they allow a police officer to search their vehicle or their person. Then again the schools in Texas don't really focus their attention on teaching children their basic rights, so how are we all to know?

I my self was asked by a trooper one time if "she" could search my vehicle. I looked her in the eyes and said hell NO. She asked again and I said no. After unsuccessful attempt to get a drug dog, she then said she was going to search my vehicle, because she "felt" I was hiding something. Of course I wasn't carrying anything illegal and she allowed me to go, that is after I said a few choice words to her in which she didn't like, but I didn't care. She works for me, she's my public servant and no one will ever abuse my rights!

If I'm not mistaken the courts have ruled that a acceptable time to detain someone while waiting for a drug dog is about 45 minutes. The courts said that allows enough time for the dog to get through traffic or transferred from another country to your location.

I wonder if the video/audio tape from that troopers car is available to the public yet? It would be interesting to see the video and see if he did give the trooper permission.

Just remember that if the police officer didn't need your permission to search, they wouldn't be asking! Innocent or guilty you still have rights under the Constitution, just use them!

JT Barrie said...

You need to determine the identity of the officer making the inquiry. The officer knows your name and you know that there are consequences. You need to know their name and imply that there are consequences to their behavior. It's easy to bully someone as an unidentified authority figure. Once you know who they are a complaint to another authority figure is likely if there is misconduct on the officer's part. Most police get away with extraneous intimidation or "ego trips" because the victim doesn't feel that they have recourse. And they don't if they don't have the identity of the offensive officer.

Anonymous said...

Actually, a person can be detained for investigative purposes, while an officer is waiting for a drug dog, longer than it takes to write a traffic ticket. With some reasonable articulable suspicion present, you can be detained for a long, long time.

A good highway interdiction officer isn't going to detain you or ask you for a search based on a "fishing expedition". He's going to find your stash because it's human nature to screw up when you're doing something wrong, like actively commiting a felony by hauling dope or the proceeds of drug transactions. You haul a load, and if asked, you're gonna grant consent for several psychological reasons. Not easy to avoid.

I seized over $2,000,000 in cash and much more than that in drug value in four years as a highway interdiction officer. I was only denied consent once by someone hauling drugs, and yeah, the dog did his job. On the flip side, I only asked for consent on less than 10% of my stops.

Just say "no", a la Pat Barber, if you can. But if you're transporting dope my bet is you won't be able to.