I do not know how to be clearer than this: Do not ever consent to searches by law enforcement. In today’s society, the meaning of “consent” can sometimes be confusing, but in order for evidence obtained from a consensual search to be admissible, the Commonwealth is required to establish that the accused voluntarily gave officers consent to perform the search. Importantly, even if you believed you had no choice but to give officers consent to perform a search, the Supreme Court has ruled that ignorance is not an excuse.
The Supreme Court has doubled down on its position that simply because a suspect did not know that they had a right to not consent to a search, this does not mean the consent given was not voluntarily given. In that second case, two men were riding on a Greyhound when police boarded the bus with the intention of searching passengers. The suspects did not provide oral consent to being searched, but when police asked the men to raise their arms, they complied with the officers’ request. The Court found that by complying with the officers’ request, the men implicitly provided the officers consent to conduct the search because the officers did not order the suspects to raise their arms.
If you believe that you were convicted of a crime as a result of an illegal, non-consensual search, you should be contact a Virginia appeals lawyer to discuss whether you might be able to have the conviction reversed.
Never Consent to Searches and Don’t Give Up Your Rights
The long and short of it is that police officers are provided a great deal of latitude in deciding what is or is not considered to be “consensual.” That is why it is so important for you to be aware of your right to object and voice your resistance to any search an officer may attempt to make. Be crystal clear that you object to any searches and protect your right to privacy.
As I’ve discussed in other articles, the use of deception and intimidation to obtain incriminating evidence is a bedrock tactic of policework. Constitutional rights are obstacles to doing their job. And while being a police officer is an honorable job, they sometimes must engage in what could be viewed as deceptive or dishonorable activity in order to get their job done. Cops have to arrest people, ensure criminal charges are filed, and maintain a high clearance rate. To be sure, police officers have an extremely important and difficult job, but it is equally important that you do not fall prey to their deceptive tactics and unwittingly give up your rights or implicate yourself.
Moreover, even if you have done nothing wrong and have not committed any crimes, you have the right to refuse a police officer’s request to conduct a search and you should exercise that right. People always attempt to argue with me on this point by standing fast to the position that they “have nothing to hide.” But just because you have nothing to hide, you should not give the police license to invade your privacy and force you to go through the indignity, inconvenience, and stress of having to deal with an officer conducting a fishing expedition at the expense of your time and happiness.
Other Articles on Your Constitutional Rights
- Your Right to Remain Silent
- Your Right to an Attorney
- What is Considered a “Search”?
- Vehicle Searches
- Stop and Frisk Searches
- Suppressing Evidence Under the Exclusionary Rule
- Know Your Rights
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney in Fairfax VA
If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with a crime after allegedly consenting to a search, contact a criminal defense attorney in Fairfax VA with the knowledge, skill, and determination to move the court to suppress evidence against you under the exclusionary rule. There are infinite ways for us to possibly assist you in obtaining the best possible outcome in your case. Contact the Law Offices of Randall Sousa today for a Free Consultation with a Fairfax criminal lawyer. 571-354-6164
Virginia Inmate Search
Fairfax County Adult Detention Center
Fairfax County Police Department
Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office
Fairfax County General District Court
Fairfax County Circuit Court
By: Randall Sousa