What Should You Say if the Police Ask to Search Your Bag or Car?

If a police officer pulls you over for suspicion of DUI, the officer believes that you have alcohol or drugs in your system and that it is affecting your ability to drive. That doesn’t mean that you necessarily have alcohol or drugs in your car, but the officer might have a hunch that you do. And the officer might ask if they can look in your bag or car.

If a police officer asks if they can search your bag or car, the answer is always, “No.”

If the officer has evidence that you have alcohol or drugs in your possession, they will have probable cause to conduct a search. In that case, the officer will not ask for your permission to conduct a search. Instead, they will demand to see your bag or inform you that they will be conducting a search. If the officer asks your permission to conduct a search, it means that they don’t have grounds to conduct such a search without your consent. You have the right under the Fourth Amendment to refuse this search.

When you respond to the officer’s question, be thoughtful about your word choice and tone. If your reaction to the question makes the officer suspect that you are hiding alcohol or drugs in your bag or car, that may give them probable cause to conduct a search. You want to be calm and say something like, “I don’t want you to search my things as I am a very private person.” This will exert your right without raising suspicions that you’re hiding something.

You might be pulled over for suspicion of DUI for any erratic driving. If you consent to a search and the police officer finds drugs or drug paraphernalia, you could be lawfully arrested on drug charges even if a blood, breath, or urine test shows that there is no alcohol or drugs in your body.

If you’ve been arrested for DUI, please contact a lawyer for DUI at Oracle Law Group Office P.C. for assistance with your DUI case.

Photo credit: dani0010 from Flickr