If your childhood was anything like those of many others in Colorado, you might have been taught to always respect and obey authority. Fast forward to a moment in time when you look in your rear view mirror and see flashing red and blue lights atop a police car. Those childhood lessons likely kick in and you immediately pull off the road and come to a stop as safely as possible. What if it doesn’t end there, however? What if a police officer asks you to step out of your car so he or she can take look inside?
Must you obey? Should you comply? Will there be repercussions if you refuse? What about the Fourth Amendment you’ve heard so much about? What does it actually say and how might it apply in such a situation with regard to your constitutional rights?
Know your rights
In the past, many people have been able to avoid conviction when facing charges for crimes because they had educated themselves regarding personal rights and state and federal laws that governed their situations. The more you know ahead of time, the easier to make informed decisions if a situation arises that places you at odds with the law. The following information regarding the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution might be helpful:
- It protects your right to privacy.
- It protects your from unjust governmental intrusion.
- It protects you from unreasonable search and seizure without probable caus.e
- It protects you from arbitrary arrest.
Even though you do you best to keep updated on current laws and issues pertaining to your Fourth Amendment rights, it’s certainly not up to you to police the police. Every law enforcement officer understands the strict protocol by which he or she must act when searching your vehicle.
Protect your rights
There have been many people had similar experiences and wound up facing drug or DUI charges after police officers rummaged through their vehicles and claimed to have found illegal items or evidence of drunk driving. By keeping these things in mind, you can fight against any violation of your rights:
- Unless there is a valid search warrant, you don’t have to allow a police officer access to your vehicle.
- If you request evidence of a search warrant and receive none, but a search of your car still happens, you may report this to appropriate legal representatives to challenge any charges later filed against you in connection with that search.
- Even if there is appropriate authoritative permission before a search of your vehicle, you can still explore options for fighting against charges filed.
An experienced defense attorney knows how to scrutinize the events that led to the charges against you in order to determine if your rights were violated during a search and seizure process and can advise you how best to proceed to rectify your situation.