Many people who seek the help of a Portland Criminal Defense Lawyers do so after contraband has been found in a person’s vehicle. These people are often pulled over for something like a broken taillight and had the police officer ask if they can search the vehicle. These drivers, unaware of their rights, consent to a search and had the police find something illegal. It is important to understand that you do not have to consent to police searching your vehicle. Unless the police have probable cause (and a simple traffic stop is not necessarily probable cause) they do not have the right to search you or your vehicle.
Portland Criminal Defense Lawyers on Probable Cause
Black’s Law Dictionary defines probable cause as “a reasonable amount of suspicion, supported by circumstances sufficiently strong to justify a prudent and cautious person’s belief that certain facts are probably true.” In other words, police must have suspicion that a specific crime has occurred in a specific place in order to obtain a warrant. For vehicle searches, this can include:
- Smell of alcohol or marijuana
- Glassy eyes or slurred speech
- The appearance of the driver or passenger attempting to conceal an object
If police search your car without such probable cause, Portland Criminal Defense Lawyers may be able to have that evidence suppressed. Should you consent to the search, however, that will not be possible.
When refusing a search, be polite but unambiguous in your refusal. If they continue to ask, continue to refuse or request a defense attorney. You should never physically resist, as that could lead to serious charges. Once a traffic stop is completed, ask if you are free to go. If you are not being detained or arrested, you may leave at any time. If you are detained or arrested, remain silent and request Portland Criminal Defense Lawyers immediately.
Knowing your rights is important for every citizen. At Corbridge & Kroll, our experienced trial attorneys aggressively fight to uphold your rights in a court of law. If you have been charged with a crime, contact us right away.