This Is What You Should Do When a Cop Asks to Search Your Vehicle

Have you ever been pulled over by the police before?

I have, and even though I was never guilty of anything more serious than driving over the speed limit, I found the whole experience to be uncomfortable. Maybe just because I’m nervous around police for some reason.

I’ve also had police ask to search my car before, which I agreed to. Primarily because I had nothing illegal in my car, but also because I don’t know the laws and I don’t know my rights when it comes to that kind of stuff.

So what are you supposed to do if a police officer asks to search your car?

Photo Credit: Unsplash,Erik Mclean

First and foremost, be polite to the officer you are dealing with. And always comply with the basic requests such as handing over your license, registration, and insurance.

Also, if an officer asks you to step out of your car, you should do it. And that’s all you HAVE to do.

Keep in mind that, without your permission, police are allowed to visually examine and exterior and interior of vehicles. So if they see something incriminating like drugs or a weapon on your seat, they can search your vehicle.

It’s important to know your Fourth Amendment rights: part of that is being protected from unlawful search and seizure which means that cops can’t search your car unless they have your permission OR probable cause.

One important thing to keep in mind: if an officer asks to search your vehicle, that means they DO NOT have probable cause, or else they’d already be doing it.

So keep the phrase “I do not consent to a search of my vehicle” in your back pocket in case you need it.

And one more thing: if an officer searches your car against your wishes, don’t resist. You can always file a complaint about the incident at a later date.

What do you think about this?

And do you have any stories about being pulled over by the police?

Talk to us in the comments and let us know!