Stacey M. Washington, Attorney and CounselorAttorney and Counselor
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Refusing to Consent to Police Search in Washtenaw County

refuse police search in washtenaw county.jpgBeing pulled over for a routine traffic stop usually involves a brief detention. The police officer will review your driver's license, registration, insurance card, and issue a ticket. However, there are situations in which police officers will question drivers if they believe a crime is in the process of being committed or has been committed. Read my tips below on how to respond to a police officer if pulled over for a "routine" traffic stop.

Provide Your Personal Information

Upon being pulled over by the police, present the officer with your driver's license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration. You may ask the officer why he stopped you. I recommend you keep your questioning and responses to a minimum. If you feel threatened for whatever reason, exercise your Constitutional right to remain silent. Make sure you clearly state this to the police officer: "I am exercising my Constitutional right to remain silent." If the police officer continues to question you, state that you will respond to his questions in the presence of your attorney. You do not have to provide the police officer with any additional information than what was stated above.

Refuse A Search & Seizure

If the police officer believes there is incriminating evidence in your vehicle, he/she will ask to conduct a search. Say NO! It amazes me how many people say YES and allow the police to search their car. Some people feel that they have nothing to hide so it should be no big deal to let the officer search their vehicle. Well it is a big deal. It is your right to say no. Unless your situation falls within certain legal exceptions, the police officer should have to obtain a warrant to search your car. If he is not willing to do this, then your car should not be searched and you may be free to leave. In order to obtain a search warrant, the officer has to convince a magistrate or judge that there is probable cause that a crime is occurring or has occurred and the items related to the crime are in your vehicle.

Request An Attorney

If the police officer does not honor your request to not search your vehicle and does so anyway, remain silent and contact your attorney if taken into custody or immediately upon your release. Do not provide the police with any information unless your attorney is present. In the event the police illegally seized evidence in your car, your attorney can protest the illegal means the police used to seize it. If a formal charge is filed against you, your attorney will have better standing to have the illegally seized evidence excluded at trial.

Contact me for more information regarding unlawful searches and seizures. If you have been arrested for a drug related crime in Ann Arbor, I may be able to have the charge asserted against you reduced or completely dismissed.

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