Do I have to Allow a Search?
Just Say No to Warrantless Searches. There is no “Miranda warning” for searches. The police officer won’t tell you what I’m telling you now—that you have a right to refuse consent to a search of your person, your clothes, your backpack, your briefcase, your car, your boat, your garage, or your house. If the officer asks you permission, say no! If you say yes, anything he finds there can be evidence against you in a criminal court—even if you didn’t put it there.
You don’t have to be rude or confrontational. You can just say, “You know, officer, I’m kind of busy today, so I’m going to have to say no.” If pressed (and cops are nothing if not pushy), say, “Officer, I want to make it clear that I do not consent to a search of my person, my clothes, my effects, my car, my trunk, my garage, my backyard, or my home. If you want to search, please get a warrant and come back.”
The police officer might search you, or your things, or your house anyway. What’s important is that you establish, as clearly as possible, that you do not consent to the search.
When you are being searched, with or without a warrant, it’s a good time to call a lawyer.