Probable cause is the major determining factor in whether or not you can be legally searched. If the police have probable cause, they can search you. Of course, they’re going to stretch the boundaries of what probable cause is and unless it’s an egregious violation, the police are going to search you legally. If you have a backpack sitting on your seat and they ask to see what’s in it, you can tell them no, but if they wanted to, they could legally detain you while a K-9 comes over. If there’s anything that the dog will smell in the bag, you’re fucked because the dog will alert the officer and now he has entirely legal probable cause. You not wanting to reveal what’s in your bag does not give them probable cause, but as soon as you refuse, they know that you’re either hiding something or trying to upstage them. Either way, they’ll find probable cause for searching you.
If you commit any crime whatsoever, you automatically give the police probable cause for searching you. If you are being detained as a suspect in any sort of crime, whether it’s petty vandalism or attempted murder, they can search you. If they are called to your house because of a noise violation, they can enter the house if any sort of crime is in progress there, even if it’s something as mundane as minor in possession of alcohol.
The bottom line is that if you commit a crime and are being detained or are under arrest, that gives the police probable cause and you do not have to consent to anything. If you are pulled over and you voluntarily allow them to search your car, you can disallow them from searching it at any time, but they will then know that you are hiding something and they will essentially create a scenario in which they have justifiable probable cause.[/quote]
I think it really comes down to how you present yourself. Who the cop is you’re dealing with. I’ve gotten myself out of tickets, by coming off as courteous as possible, when I could have gotten hundreds in fines and my car impounded.
Hey I’ve talked to cops, who have told people if they would have just said “No” when asked for a routine search. He would have let them on their way. Yet by asking for a routine search without probable cause, he has found at times lbs of drugs!!! When it could have been avoided very easily.