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Consenting to a Police Search When You Have Nothing to Hide

Jeff Cole
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Partner at Zimmer, Duncan & Cole

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2/2/2014
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If you are a South Dakota resident who has nothing to hide, you might believe that there is no harm in consenting to a police search. However, you have a right to refuse police searches of your home, apartment, belongings, or car—and it’s often wise to exercise this right, especially when you’re sure you’re innocent.

Although police have to have a good reason—such as illegal items in plain view—to conduct a search without your consent, officers may find surprising evidence against you during a search you consent to, even when you’re sure that there is nothing incriminating in your belongings. Items left by guests, surprises from seemingly trustworthy roommates, items you were unaware were illegal, and other issues could become a problem if you consent to a search, and there is always a risk of officers damaging property during the search—and leaving a big mess for you to clean up.

Remember that saying “no” to a search isn’t illegal and doesn’t automatically prove your guilt. Although law enforcement officers may choose to search you or your property despite your refusal or attempt to detain you, simply remaining calm, informing the officers that you do not consent to the search, and speaking to an attorney about what happened could go a long way toward a successful defense later on.

If you believe you may have been searched illegally, reach out to our experienced Sioux Falls legal team today at 888-733-2992 for more information and answers to your criminal defense questions.



Category: Criminal Defense

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