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Austin Criminal Lawyer

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why shouldn’t I consent to a search of my vehicle?

A: If you have contraband in the vehicle and consent to the search, you have just forfeited your right to contest the lawfulness of the search in court. If you refuse to consent and the officer searches without probable cause to believe that you are engaging in criminal activity, the evidence will not be admissible in court and the State’s case may well fail. It is surprising how many people consent to a search knowing that it likely will result in the discovery of unlawful drugs or other contraband.

If you have nothing to hide, your consent will not lead to a criminal prosecution, but it will serve as a reminder of the reason the founders of this nation enacted the Fourth Amendment. You probably will be detained for a significant period of time while the officer or officers systematically rummage through your vehicle and belongings. Drug-searching dogs may be called in to assist, lengthening the detention. Your vehicle might be taken to the local police station for additional examination. If you try to retract the consent, the retraction may well be ignored. Upon completion of the search, you will be left with the task of cleaning up the mess and possibly repairing damage to your vehicle or belongings. It is not a pleasant experience. What to do? As the saying goes, “Just say, No!”


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