Are you under investigation by law enforcement? Have you been arrested and now face serious accusations which threaten your freedom and livelihood?
There is no better ally in this situation than an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows your rights and is willing to fight to protect you. In the world of criminal defense, there are few more powerful tools than the 4th and 5th Amendments of the U.S. and Florida Constitutions. Unless you waive them, your constitutional protections are always a shield. When applied by a skilled criminal defense attorney, they are also a weapon.
Let’s take a look at a common situation and how the 4th Amendment protects you.
Should I give consent to Office to “look around” in my car? No. Never? Never. Why not?
Do you enjoy your privacy? If you’re like most people and said yes, then why would you consent? Did you know that the 4th amendment, that’s the one that says you are to be FREE FROM UNREASONABLE SEARCHES OF YOUR PERSON, PAPERS, PROPERTY, AND EFFECTS, was drafted with your privacy as the paramount concern? It makes no sense to waive the protections of the 4th amendment under any scenario. But you have nothing to hide, right? That’s fine, but why would you forfeit your privacy? You are ALWAYS entitled to exercise this right. All you have to say is “no”. I don’t care if it was just a speeding ticket. I don’t care if it was for a tag light out. Why would anyone forfeit those unalienable rights to privacy and let a patrol officer rummage around unchecked and without good cause? (Thought: No Officer, I’m not hiding anything, but I don’t know you, and I don’t care for you to search anything. Actual Statement: No I do NOT consent to any search.)
Many criminal charges arise from traffic stops turned searches. Something, weed, a pill, a pistol, is found in the center console or glove box or under the seat by an officer that stopped you for California rolling a stop sign. Many, many of those charges could be avoided by just saying “no”. When you say, “no, officer, I do not consent to any search”, you are not making it difficult for the cop. You are intelligently applying your rights. You are making him do his job.
Oftentimes, there is no legal reason to search your car. Don’t be afraid of the dogs, they were going to get them anyway. But you have protections from the dogs too! There are a number of rules that Officers have to follow when using police K9s. When they search your car after you have REFUSED CONSENT, the search can, and any skilled criminal defense attorney should, challenge the search in court. When the search is determined to be frivolous, or without legitimate legal reason, or UNREASONABLE, anything that was found as a result of that search gets thrown out!
Don’t fold. Don’t waive your rights. The best checks and balances we as citizens have against law enforcement are our rights guaranteed to us in the Constitution.