If an officer asks to search your vehicle, just say NO. Be polite, but say NO.
Hello, my name is Andrew Flusche. I’m a Virginia traffic and misdemeanor attorney. Today I wanted to talk about one simple thing: if you’re ever stopped in a vehicle and the officer asks if he can search the vehicle, say “No.” Just say no to searches, it’s really simple. I tell you that, but let me give you one warning: be sure to be nice. Be polite about it; don’t say “No, you jerk, you can’t search.” Don’t say anything like that; don’t be rude to the officer. That’s never going to get you anywhere. But honestly, allowing the officer to search your vehicle with your permission, isn’t going to get you anywhere either.
If the officer has probable cause to search, they’re going to search no matter what you say, be it yes or no. So why give them permission and remove any argument that we could possibly make about the search itself? If the officer doesn’t have probable cause to search, and you say “No” then it ends right there. You’re either going to get a ticket and he’s going to let you go, or you’re just going to be done. But they can’t search without probable cause or your permission.
Some people think that they have nothing to hide, but are you sure about what’s in your vehicle? Have you had any friends in your vehicle who might have left something behind that you’ve forgotten about? Or did you have something in your vehicle that you’ve forgotten about, maybe from months ago? The officers can be pretty thorough when they’re searching a vehicle and they might find something that you had no idea was in there. So the best rule of thumb is to be nice, be polite and cooperate with the officers, but when they say “Sir, do you mind if I search your vehicle? You don’t have anything to hide, do you?” just say “No.” Say “No sir, I do not want you to search my vehicle.” Be very clear about it, but be very polite about it, and honestly I think that’s your best course of action if you’re ever asked for permission to search your vehicle. Just say “No” to searches.
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