Don’t Consent to a Search of Your Vehicle During a Traffic Stop

don't consent to a search of your vehicle

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[Ed: Back in 2015, Dean pointed out the potential perils of consenting to a search of your vehicle during a traffic stop, even if “you don’t have anything to hide.” That advice is just as valid today.]

It has become a hallmark of advice from lawyers: do not give consent to police officers to search your vehicle or your home. If they have probable cause to perform a search, they don’t need to ask. Politely refuse to give consent if they make the request.

Believing that you “have nothing to hide” is escapist fantasy in today’s world of multiple overlapping and vague criminal laws. Are you certain that the pretty bird feather that your daughter picked up on your walk in the woods and left under the back seat isn’t from a hawk or eagle?

Possession of some feathers is a federal crime. Did a .22 shell slip out of your range bag and under the seat of the car? It’s a crime in D.C. And if you’re in New Jersey, you better hope it’s not a hollow point round.

In this case, Chris Johnson, an NFL player, has a Florida concealed carry permit. When he was pulled over, he thought he had nothing to hide and agreed to a search of his vehicle.

From nfl.com:

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the 29-year-old was pulled over for rolling through a stop sign, per a source close to the player. The police officer asked to search his car. Johnson cooperated, as he had nothing to hide. The police found his licensed and registered firearm under a book bag under his seat instead of locked up in the car.

Johnson was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of openly carrying a firearm. Other reports indicate that the handle of the gun may have been exposed when the police officer approached the driver.

The “open carry” charge seems quite a stretch, either way. If the officer had to search the vehicle to find the firearm, it was clearly concealed, and Johnson wasn’t violating the law because he has a Florida concealed carry permit. If the officer could only see the firearm by coming up close to the window and looking in, it’s a stretch to call that openly carrying the firearm, especially under the state’s “brief and open” display exception.

Officers who ask to search your car are trained to make the request seem casual and off the cuff. Don’t expect the officer to ask, “Do you surrender your 4th Amendment rights?” in an official tone of voice.

The request is likely to start off low-key and informal. “Do you mind if I have a look in your car?” is a common approach. Intimidation may be used if you make a polite refusal. “If you don’t let me look in your car, I will have to get a warrant, and then you will be in trouble,” may be stated in a more threatening manner.

The answer to all these requests should be the same: “No, I do not consent to a search of my car. I do not surrender any of my constitutional rights. Am I free to go?”

It’s even better if you record these interactions with the police. (The ability to record police in the public performance of their duties has been ruled a First Amendment right.) That way there will be no “he said/she said” as seems to be developing in the Johnson case.

Johnson is vulnerable because he is subject to extra-judicial punishments from the NFL. The NFL is owned by powerful people who fully endorse the disarmist agenda. His career may be significantly hurt for daring to exercise his second amendment rights.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

comments

  1. avatar Robert A says:

    Be polite but firm, never talk, never answer questions and never, ever consent to a search

    1. avatar TheBruteSquad says:

      Out of curiosity might the Illinois “duty to inform” law constitute a 5th amendment violation since it could potentially force you to reveal some law violation?

      1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

        Duty to inform if you are carrying legally, not if you aren’t.

        1. avatar FedUp says:

          Same with gun registration laws.
          They only require the law abiding to register.
          Holding criminals to the same standard would be a 5A violation.

          So, you passed a law requiring law abiding citizens to register their handguns, but it can’t be enforced against criminals who obtained their handguns illegally?
          And you say it’s a permissible violation of civil rights because it’s aimed at fighting crime?
          Are you lying, or just stupid?

        2. avatar Manse Jolly says:

          South Carolina has a ‘duty to inform’ if CWP holder. However, South Carolina residents are allowed to carry in vehicle loaded in glove box or center console without CWP.

          I believe most SC LEO training teaches to “assume there is a weapon in the car”

          Telling a deputy you have a weapon in the car is not such a big deal here, as long as you tell them right off. Some might get you out of car but for the most part they won’t freak out unless you do something to weird or cause them to think you are a threat.

      2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        not posting the link for the umpteenth. illinois requires dti if and when asked. it is not required until then.

        1. avatar LibertyToad says:

          Correct. Illinios does not have a duty to inform law unless asked

    2. avatar RidgeRunner says:

      I don’t believe we have a “duty to inform” in Tennessee, but I was always advised by people who seem to know that you should tell the cop who pulls you over that you have a Handgun Carry Permit and are armed. I believe the logic is they will see it anyway if they run you and not informing raises some suspicion? Not sure, but the two times I’ve been pulled over while carrying I did inform the officer and both times they acted like “I don’t care, why are you telling me this.”

    3. avatar TX223 says:

      Interestingly the ACLU had a guide several years ago. Items I remember are.
      1. Lock your door.
      2. Roll window down partially.
      3. Keep hands on steering wheel.
      4. Never consent to search.
      5. If they ask you to step out of a vehicle roll up windows and lock the doors.
      6. If they ask you whey you locked the doors, reply “habit”.
      Can’t remember the rest.
      These days it would be wise to have your wallet in your hand with you hands on the wheel – so you don’t get shot for reaching for your wallet.

  2. avatar WILLIAM WALL says:

    Consent = Buh-BYE to 4A protections! Simple enough.

    And yet some folks still don’t listen. I call them clients.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      I call them inmates.

      1. avatar Mark Webb says:

        I call them stupid.

    2. avatar Tom says:

      I call them subjects, not citizens

  3. avatar Michael Buley says:

    I have a son who, some years back, consented to a search. Big mistake. Back then, he thought he was smarter than the police. They found something that ended up in prison time for him — not altogether undeserved, but should never have come to it.

    Most here have probably seen the video of the lawyer advising never to talk to the police, even as a witness to a crime. First a lawyer, then the police, if you need to talk to them. As I remember him saying, there’s nothing you can’t say later, with your lawyer present, that you have to say right then.

    I’ve never been in a position where I’ve had to decline to talk with police. That video remains clear in my mind. As far as consenting to a search? Never. Had my son said no, it’s likely he wouldn’t have gone to prison.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      There is a big difference between saying “don’t consent to a search” and “don’t talk to the police.” If the police come to your door knocking looking for a lost child and you refuse to tell them you saw him get in a dark van five minutes ago because some youtube video said not to talk to the police, you’re not a civil rights protector, you’re an asshole.

      It should go without saying, but I have had people literally say that kind of thing.

      1. avatar Chris Morton says:

        Police are not just allowed to lie to you, they’re ENCOURAGED to do so.

        You have NO idea whether cops are telling you the truth. That’s what lawyers get paid for.

        1. Lie to me.
        2. Have my trust.
        Pick ONE.

        1. avatar Cloudbuster says:

          Exactly. I’ve had local police lie to my face. You can’t trust anything they say, or assume their intentions because of what they say.

        2. avatar Hannibal says:

          I don’t trust salesmen either but that doesn’t mean I put my fingers in my ear and start shouting “AM I BEING DETAINED” if one comes up to me in an aisle before hearing what he wants.

        3. avatar Cloudbuster says:

          I don’t trust salesmen either but…

          Salesmen don’t have government-backed monopolies on the use of force, and the sales gig doesn’t attract the sort of people who get off on using their power over other people.

      2. avatar Binder says:

        And don’t be surprised if you end up being charged for the kids disappearance if they can’t find the van.
        That’s the messed up truth of the matter.

        1. avatar Chris Morton says:

          Good luck with that. You’ll be able to buy a watercooled .50 with the judgment you get.

        2. avatar slicer87 says:

          They don’t ship watercooled .50s to prison little buddy.

        3. avatar Chris Morton says:

          “They don’t ship watercooled .50s to prison little buddy.”

          If you end up in prison pursuant to a violation of your 4th and 5th Amendment rights, you’ll have money for a battery of 90mm AA guns.

        4. avatar Puma says:

          You are forgeting that cops are more equal than us. They can easily “prove” you are guility of nearly anything they want. Especially if they are under pressure to “solve” a high profile case under any means including various forms of hidden misfonduct protected by the blue wall. Cops generally laugh at threats of lawsuits against them for good reason as most get tossed out.When does get through,mits the tax payers who pay the bill, not the crooked cop pereonally who will likey keep his job. Even if you do prove you are innocent and win lawsuits, your reputation is forever ruined as many people will be leery of a person who was suspected or accused of child kidnapping. Your future prospects would be bleak. Not to mention police retaliation.

      3. avatar Steve says:

        The video he is referring to is when they read you your rights.
        you have the right to remain silent. you have a right to an attorney. ANYTHING you say can be used AGAINST you.
        There is nothing there saying anything you say will be used to help you.
        That is the point in the video…

      4. avatar FuckUCops says:

        If you’re a cop, you are, by definition, an asshole.

        1. avatar A Cop says:

          Spoken like a real criminal

        2. avatar Josh Geren says:

          +1

        3. avatar PosseMan says:

          Spoken like a true asshole.

        4. avatar Chris Morton says:

          Maybe, maybe not.

          But you ARE a potential threat to an innocent person’s liberty and life.

          It’s an inherently adversarial relationship. Forget that at your peril.

          Richard Jewell and Kathryn Johnston found that out the hard way.

      5. avatar arc says:

        Sorry, law isn’t on my side. I really want to help people but its not worth getting involved anymore. Being the last person to see someone else doesn’t end well.

        1. avatar Chris Morton says:

          In two of the three times I’ve had occasion to report crimes or suspected emergencies to the Cleveland PD they made it abundantly clear that they just didn’t give a damn.

          I’m going out on a limb to help them WHY???

    2. avatar Perry says:

      A lawyer once explained to me that anything you say to the police, without an attorney, will cost $1000/word to un-do.

    3. avatar Jeff says:

      This has to be one of the dumbest advice given by a lawyer, as this could lead you to be charged with obstruction (terminology and law differs from a state to another).

      1. avatar Chris Morton says:

        WRONG.

        Invoking your 4th and 5th Amendment protections is NEVER “obstruction”. They can either grant you immunity or pound sand.

    4. avatar jakee308 says:

      I would say that rather than climb up on your constitutional rights and ride that pony to the end would be to just state you have nothing to say. I’ve done that with a couple traffic stops when the cop gets into a preaching mode about this or that and anything you say to counter his questions is thrown back at you. After the first time I realized he wasn’t looking for a dialog but to sermonize and I wasn’t in the mood so to his next question about why I didn’t turn my signal on (dead of night, no traffic in sight, he was parked on side of road with lights out down from where I turned onto the hiway) I just said “I have nothing further to say” when He asked again I said the same thing and he let me go with an admonishment to use my turn signals. I suspect he was a rookie (very young) and late at night bored and wanted something to do and I got picked as the target.

      Be nice and just tell them you have nothing to say about anything they are asking you. They frame and use those questions to provoke you into a conversation where they can elicit more information that may incriminate you or give them cause for a search.

      Don’t be fooled they are not your friend. They get paid to enforce the laws and they have a strict protocol in how they do that. They are judged by stops, arrests and not by convictions. Their aim is to supply a likely suspect for the PA. They could care less about your rights or problems.

  4. avatar Mark N. says:

    There is a highway in Tennessee I believe where the Highway Patrol routinely pulls over out of state drivers and then ask to search the vehicle. Mostly the stops are for made up reasons, like allegedly failing to signal while changing lanes. The police know that that highway is a major route for delivering drugs one way and cash the other, and they rely on consent searches to search and seize anything they can, which for many means all of their cash. (Yes, it is highway robbery, but until the states follow suit with California beginning on the first of the new year and require the police to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the fruits of their search are indeed contraband instead of the owner having to prove the goods are not, the practice will continue.) The police have a big incentive to search, and they rarely have probable cause. If they do not get consent, they will threaten, and the line, “well, if you have nothing to hide, what is the harm in letting us look?” is very common, as is, “if we have to get a warrant, you will be facing significant charges.” (Charges for what?) They will have you sit on the side of the road until the drug sniffing dog shows up, and the police officers are not averse to subtly “encouraging” the dog to alert even when there are no drugs in the car, just to justify a search.

    DON’T BE FOOLED! YOU ARE BEING ROBBED!

    1. avatar William Wall says:

      Holy CRAP – And I thought my first wife’s attorney was bad…

    2. avatar Michael Buley says:

      There are more cases than most people realize where that happens. People legally carrying substantial sums of money in their cars — sometimes into the six figures; no, not drug dealers; they’re not the only ones — have had it taken in such situations, and not returned. It is blatant theft, and people often have little to no recourse.

      Follow John Whitehead at The Rutherford Institute for a lawyer who really does fight for constitutional rights. He continues to see it all, and defend people who have no other recourse. Much of his work is done pro bono.

      1. avatar arc says:

        People always have recourse, if they get pushed far enough.

      2. avatar jakee308 says:

        These days the highwaymen are not the crooks it’s the police. I would recommend to anyone that they get a certified check or money orders and/or mail the cash to a pickup spot. Many will take packages for you for a fee.

        Drive with only enough cash for emergencies. Lock all your bags, clean the passenger area so there is no chance they can claim there was something there that wasn’t. And if you let your kid drive your car, search the ashtray and under seat. Your kid may not use drugs but one of his friends might and left something behind. And you’ll be in the hot seat when that gets found.

        It’s like driving in general; drive defensively. We don’t live in the America we were born in so consider this the USSR Lite. Act as if you’re a foreign spy when on the road and be aware at all times of your surroundings and especially law enforcement.

  5. avatar ExtraSmooth1 says:

    How would you record the interaction? Would you reach in your pocket and thrust an object (cell phone) out toward the officer? Good way to get shot in some jurisdictions.

    1. avatar New Continental Army says:

      Get a dash cam. Will help in accidents too. May not entirely get the whole encounter on the camera but it will record the sound and knowing that there is a camera recording will change a lot of people’s behavior, cop or not.

      1. avatar arc says:

        Gang banger cops will rip that shit out of your car so fast if it catches them in wrong doing. Need the overt cam and the covert cam hidden away in an airvent.

        1. avatar FedUp says:

          Remember when the gangsters raided a marijuana dispensary, vandalized all but one of the security cameras, and then started stealing and eating the weed, thinking they’d destroyed all the cameras first?

          When 8 out of 8 cops are caught on camera committing crime like that, you can’t tell me that the badge toting career felons are an insignificant minority of LEOs.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      1) Dash cam- if you drive, you should probably have one anyway. They’re cheap as hell now.
      2) Phones have apps that can record based on verbal statements or very simple touch. You don’t need to point a phone at someone to record audio, which is typically the relevant record for consent.

    3. avatar Chris Morton says:

      Whenever I’m carrying, I’m recording already.

  6. avatar Shire-man says:

    No foolin’ we have this “your rights after high school” pamphlet thing put out by the state. It literally says if you know you’ve broken the law do not ask for a warrant because you’re only making things harder on yourself. When I’m back in the office tomorrow I’ll dig it out and get the actual wording. The newest edition contains a little note to disregard that line of totalitarian garbage and some lip service about respecting rights but the language is still in there. I keep meaning to research who was responsible for putting that in there in the first place.

    1. avatar Shire-man says:

      It’s Beyond High School: A Guide to Your Rights and Responsibilities published by the NH Bar Association.
      On page 27 it reads:

      Common sense dictates that forcing the police to obtain a search warrant when you have absolutely nothing to hide is expensive and counterproductive. If you know that the police will find what they are looking for as soon as they obtain a search warrant, refusing to consent to the search and forcing them to obtain a search warrant is nothing more than an exercise in futility.

      The NH Bar Association. Looking out for the little guy.

      1. avatar Dave says:

        Wtf? This is from NH from BEFORE the masshole invasion?

  7. avatar Rocket scientist says:

    Car manufacturers should offer an optional camera and audio recorder that unobtrusively faces out driver window to record interactions with police. I like body cams to protect cops from BS accusations and this would protect the public from the bad actors. Be a great option for the paranoid among us. Most law abiding people distrust interactions with the popo because of the potential for a negative, life altering event at the hands of someone who might be having a bad day and all too often are not deserving of the intense power they wield.

    1. avatar Cloudbuster says:

      If car manufacturers were offering that, how long do you think it would be before the NSA was hoovering up all that video en masse?

      1. avatar arc says:

        They have to be able to access it first. Wireless is easy to break…

  8. avatar former water walker says:

    The po-leece ain’t your friend. Don’t EVER invite them in!

  9. avatar Hannibal says:

    Just a note: just because the police have probable cause and don’t have to ask does not mean they can’t do so. An officer might do so because if he gets consent AND probable cause, it’s twice as hard to challenge in court. That’s one theory of practice, anyway- another is that you shouldn’t muddy the waters by asking for consent if you’ve got probable cause.

    Anyway. Point is, just know the difference between a request and a command. By all means, decline consent and assert that you do are not voluntarily consenting to a search; however, if you are ordered out of a car, leave the fight for the courtroom. Judges don’t generally find in favor of drivers trying to try a case on the side of the road.

  10. avatar Yarbles says:

    Same thing when they come to your front door:

    If they ask you to come out: NO

    If they ask for ID: NO

    Don’t tell them to ‘get a warrant’ just say NO.

  11. avatar possum says:

    How it works in this State, law enforcement;”Can I sserch your vehicle?.. No..”Why not, are you hiding something, ( probable cause) . Please step out if the car, put your hands behind your back( click click) For your Saftey as well as mine.” … Here’s the deal, it might be your car, bit it’s on their road, using a privilege the state gave you, the DL. Even if you say NO, the car still gets searched. On the road is different then on private property.

    1. avatar possum says:

      On the feathers, barred owl feathers and talons, in my car when it was searched, $500 fine at the time. Thankfully in court it was thrown out because I’m an Animist and used those items in rituals.

    2. avatar Perry says:

      In Colorado, a motor vehicle is considered the “home” of the owner.

      State laws may vary. Never consent to search – it’s your 4A right.

      1. avatar possum says:

        Yup……

    3. avatar Hannibal says:

      Not a chance. I have a feeling you are not a lawyer in (your state).

      1. avatar possum says:

        ????? …. Does jail house lawyer count?.. I speak from experience and I’ve never had a law man just walk away on the word No during a vehicle stop. Did you? I’ve found the easiest way is compliance because when I’ve got into a pissing match with a law enforcer I lose.

        1. avatar arc says:

          Might get a fat paycheck if you can prove they were in the wrong.

    4. avatar Cloudbuster says:

      ”Can I sserch your vehicle?.. No..”Why not, are you hiding something, ( probable cause)

      Court cases have established repeatedly that refusal of consent does not constitute probable cause.

      I ordered cops off my property once after a particularly insulting line of questioning. I was given threats of warrants and “cadaver-sniffing dogs.” I told them to knock themselves out turning up every dead groundhog and squirrel on the ranch when they came back with the warrant. They never came back.

      1. avatar possum says:

        Vehicle on public road vs private property is two different things. I too give them hell if it’s on my property, on the road in my car is a different story. I still say No but don’t expect any different results then having the vehicle searched. An old joke around here is, They’ve got a badge, a gun, and a judge and can do anything they want. And that’s pretty much the brass tacks. The fights in court and that win comes with having money for a good lawyer. That is what’s its all about money. … Let’s say if a lawman searched your vehicle, tore your seat, you sued and the lawman had to pocket up, not the state, the lawmen might not be so happy to infringe rights or make bad decisions. But that’s not the case, it basically comes down to I won now the citizens can pay for that lawman’s fuck up. Hmm “They” always win don’t they.

        1. avatar Patrol cop says:

          It depends where you live, the agency, and the cops. There are more than enough criminals and interesting stuff to find the correct way.

        2. avatar slicer87 says:

          The system is already stacked against you before you are even accused of anything.

  12. avatar BLAMMO says:

    No good can come of it.

  13. avatar BLAMMO says:

    And don’t forget to remind them that you pay their salary. That always goes over well. 😀

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Remind them that they’re public servants and tell them to bring you a cold glass of water.

      1. avatar red_dirt says:

        RIP Geo. Carlin

    2. avatar Patrol cop says:

      I don’t see your name on my pay check. Oh yeah, I pay taxes too trust me.

      Ralph, A public servant means government employee, it doesn’t make you a millionaire walking into a restaurant or store with everybody getting on their knees to serve you. I am not going to kiss your arse, that you can count on it. You are constantly trashing cops. I wouldn’t be surprised if you are that kind of clown who is about to drive away with a warning, but instead decides to run his mouth and gets a citation.

      1. avatar Slicer87 says:

        Thanks Judge Dredd.

        1. avatar arc says:

          I AM, THE LAW!

          I should rewatch the old Dredd. Good movie.

      2. avatar Salty Bear says:

        Ladies and gentlemen, Exhibit A.

      3. avatar possum says:

        “I don’t see your name on the paycheck”,, yeh you do, city of, municipality of, county of, state of, government of. We the People…, “I pay taxes too” and where pray tell did that paycheck come from? A factory worker, business man, or dishwashers taxes. Or is the government self perpetuating?

      4. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

        “I pay taxes too trust me”

        I don’t trust you, and if you think you pay taxes you must be a democrat.

  14. avatar Jbw says:

    On i80 in Illinois the local states attorney had a cash confiscation scam going on. Stop out of state vehicles, search it an take the money. He will be going on trial soon

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      What county?
      Name?

      1. avatar Catch22 says:

        LaSalle County. Brian Towne.

        1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

          https://www.mywebtimes.com/2018/06/14/towne-loses-bid-to-speed-up-appeal/aeq361h/

          Sounds like a real ‘piece of work’…

    2. avatar GS650G says:

      They had one in TX too. It took in millions over several years. Can’t find the link but it was amazing they got away with it for so long. Threatened to take people’s children away if they didn’t sign confessions that money and valuables were proceeds from illegal activity.

      But some say that never happens.

      1. avatar GS650G says:

        Found it
        https://reason.com/blog/2018/05/09/texas-town-in-trouble-for-spending-money

        and Florida too
        http://reason.com/blog/2012/10/29/feds-investigate-asset-forfeiture-slush
        OK in Oklahoma
        http://reason.com/blog/2016/04/25/oklahoma-deputies-seize-thousands-raised

        Texas as a whole is a bad apple: https://ij.org/pfp-state-pages/pfp-texas/

        So a search consent is a really bad idea. Marylad MTA runs tags and if you’re a permit holder from Florida they might yank the car apart. I got pulled over in MD with a trunk full of guns 3 years ago and didn’t consent to the search by the 23 YO MTA cop. No is an option too.
        MD ignores the FOPA and seizes guns carried legally or not forcing you into court to get them back. They setup a roadblock on the MD line near Salisbury years ago and were screwing people heading north with guns from a range.

        If you have to get out lock the doors and don’t give them the keys. You leave a door or window open and it’s implied consent. Until they get a green light from you you have the upper hand.

        It sucks that we have to put up with this shit but that’s the reality of traveling through anti gun states or places with no cash flow. I carry guns between two locations I live at all the time and I’ve got locks on the carry cases, ammo separate from guns, and I even remove bolts from rifles. I don’t stop for fuel, food or piss in MD either.

  15. avatar daveinwyo says:

    We only have a sherriff. The deputies are well trained. ALL vehicles are armed, and most of the drivers. No electric cars either. Road vermin.

  16. avatar AZgunner says:

    At least where I am, you’re absolutely not allowed to say “If you don’t consent, I’ll have to get a warrant”. That’s considered coercion and anything found will get tossed out in court. And when I search a car, I’m not looking for bird feathers, legally owned firearms, or anything other than Heroin and Methamphetamine.

    That said, why would you consent? If a cop asks me I’ll politely tell him to piss up a rope, from one cop to another.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      That is my understanding of caselaw as it relates to coercion, as well. You CAN say “if you don’t let me search, I’ll get a warrant” but only if you already have probable cause and live in one of the few states that requires a warrant for a vehicle search. Similarly, it is poor practice to ask someone to search while they are still detained, for the same reason.

      Basically, if you’re asking for consent, they should be free to tell you to shove off and drive away. Otherwise it’s not really ‘consent’ is it?

    2. avatar DaveL says:

      And I’m sure the cops don’t say that, unless they’re being recorded, and any defendant who claims otherwise is a lying liar.

      1. avatar AZgunner says:

        We’re always recorded, because we have body cameras. And I like the body cameras, because they’ve saved a lot of Officers from false accusations.

  17. avatar TheUnspoken says:

    “The police found his licensed and registered firearm under a book bag under his seat instead of locked up in the car.”

    Where do I go in Florida to get a license for my gun and register it, can I go to the DMV and get a plate for it?

    Must have a big SUV, there isn’t much room under my seat. He should have had it on or about his person (perhaps by definition he did) but in Florida if not carrying it you should have it “snapped into a holster or securely encased.” My gun is always in a holster, whether on me or somewhere reachable, I wouldn’t leave it sliding around on the floor, especially if loaded. It isn’t licensed or registered either. Only SBRs and silencers need to be registered.

    I hope he prevails in court. The police shouldn’t be trying to nail lawful owners on technicalities, should have just told him how to carry legally but does that cop even know?

    1. avatar Patrol cop says:

      “If you don’t let me look in your car, I will have to get a warrant, and then you will be in trouble,”
      I have never said that and I have never heard any other cop say it. A warrant for WHAT? Where do you guys live?

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        Common tactic around Memphis for years.

    2. avatar MyName says:

      “Where do I go in Florida to get a license for my gun and register it, can I go to the DMV and get a plate for it?”

      Probably just a journalist’s ‘lost-in-translation’ occurrence for the phrase ‘legally owned”. I have met many people who, when they learn I’m a gun owner, ask about licensing, registration, legality and the like. I think there are a lot of people out there who really have little to no idea what the laws governing firearm ownership entail.

      I think this is one reason the antis get traction with their calls for UBCs and other regulations because, in the imaginations of the uniformed, there are huge numbers of people illegally possessing guns when we know that, in fact, the number of illegally possessed guns is actually quite a small fraction of the total.

  18. avatar strych9 says:

    I’ve only ever had an issue like this (search issues) with one officer. My initial approach was polite with both the “nice cop” and the jerk.

    When “the jerk” rebuffed my politeness and became threatening/accusatory my response became “Because fuck you very much officer. If I’m not under arrest I’ll be leaving now” which ended the whole situation.

    In retrospect saying “fuck you very much” might not have been the smartest thing for me to say at that juncture but it was a clear and concise way to make it obvious I wasn’t going to put up with his tomfuckery.

    1. avatar possum says:

      Your lucky they didn’t hit you with terroristic threat with the ” f u very much”. Perhaps it was your demeanor? As in ” the more they fck with me, da meaner I get” lol. Actually appearance has a lot to do with police stops. Ratty old cars and ratty old clothes doesn’t get the respect of a lawman like nice and neat does, kinda like being Black.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        This is back before the “terroristic threat” charge was something they’d hit you for with everything.

        In some ways policing really was a bit kinder and gentler back in 2002-03.

        It’s almost certainly not the the tack I would take today.

    2. avatar Ralph says:

      The proper response to “can I search your car?” is “why would you want to do that?”

      After the cops says “I’ll be the one asking the questions,” then you can tell him to fvck off.

  19. avatar Ralph says:

    Anyone who is stupid enough to consent to a police search deserves exactly what they’re going to get.

  20. avatar Patrol cop says:

    If you don’t look and act like a bag of soup, or have people in your vehicle who do (which happens sometimes when several teens are in a car), cops very rarely bother even asking for such consent.
    Actually let’s start from the beginning, the chances of being pulled over are very low if you drive decently and do your best to obey traffic laws. By that I mean don’t speed in a school zone, don’t drive carelessly or recklessly, and don’t be so lazy or inattentive that it takes you 1 year to have a light bulb replaced.

    It is your vehicle, you should know what is inside and if your buddy has some very questionable habits.

    Finally, the stories always amaze me every time there is an article about law enforcement on TTAG. Some of these testimonies are probably true, many are most likely exaggerated, others pure lies.

    1. avatar arc says:

      Given I’ve been assaulted, aka gang-banged by two plain clothed cops in my own front yard, (they got the wrong house) Id imagine more of the gloom stories are true than not.

    2. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

      I am getting the sense you work an area with a relatively high level of social trust and/or are too busy to bother with typical revenue generation enforcement. Having lived around Baltimore and Philadelphia not too many of the stories here are particularly unusual. If anything they are relatively tame likely due to the law abiding nature of POTG as a mitigating factor in the interaction. But for the cities I mentioned you don’t have to search for allegations of misconduct the convictions are numerous enough.

    3. avatar GS650G says:

      You probably don’t work in West Phiily Mr. Patrol Cop. Or in DC where 3 cars respond to a pullover.

    4. avatar Jim Bullock says:

      Oh, the sample method skews what you’ll see. The question is whether the bad or good experiences are outliers vs. the norm, or what usually happens.

      For myself,
      – In the shipping corridor that the hills of my childhood have become, well, there’s quite a bit of pulling on the thread if they get the chance. When I visit, I walk from my mother’s house to the diner, grocery, and etc. (I don’t drive — medical.) I get everything from cruise-bys, to the slow follow, casual questions, and a bit more.

      – Called the local PD when my mother was unresponsive by phone, over my threshold of convern. They checked, and thank them. The aggressiveness — or is that ‘thoroughness” — with which they checked took me aback a bit. Rural, township PD, barely has someone on all the time. But the fact is, if I completely trusted these guys, no amount of “thoroughness” would have concerned me.

      – Where I live now, in a city in upstate NY, there isn’t a traffic stop w/ less than 3 cop cars. Call something in, like a guy having a seizure on the street, and you have at least two rounds of gauntlet as you depart. “Who are you?” “Where are you going?” “How do you know this guy?”

      The lawyers will have an opinion, of course, but in that event, I stuck to my informative response that didn’t answer the quetions: “I was just walking by, and this guy looked like he needed more help than I could give him. Still does. You got this, so I can get going?”

      – We don’t have the brightest protesters around here, but the local enforcement has managed to turn two non-riot parades this year into roustings, with arrests and bad publicity. Guns pulled, but not fired. By the PD. Who managed to taze people who before encountering the PD weren’t doing any mayhem or violence.

      – Same city: somebody doesn’t like selective enforcement, has a meeting at her house about working toward some community policing. The local cop shop just happens to be out in force just then, chalk-marking the tires and measuring tire-to-curb for every car on the block … just happen to be the people who would be at that meeting. Wouldn’t you know, there’s a backlog of overdue fines (in fact contested, so overddue doesn’t countt), so out comes the fleet of “pay for the tow” tow trucks. And the people recordding getting threatened and blocked … was recorded.

      – Did you know that our local CIS, given that w/in 100 miles of a border counts as a border “enforcement zone”, gets on internal US busses to ask everyone on board their citizenship? They just happen to roust the route boarding in Rochester — happens to be in the US — headed through PA — still the US — to end in NYC — still kinda the US. Two tooled-up guys dressed in brown, asking people in the interior: “Your papers please.”

      Interestingly, that 100 miles is rolled back from their initial 200. In part, after they tried to roust, shut down, and seize a ferry in the Puget sound, based on “zero tolerence” and seizure laws, after finding *one whacky tobaccy seed*, in a crack, in a railing, on the deck of the ferry.

      – Sitting on my own porch. On a chair inside the building, outside my own apartment. Walking from the coffee shop home. The drive-bys; the slow and stare; the circle the block and pass again. Watching them roust a guy on the street, across the street.

      For planning, for yourself, it’s good to think of LEO encounters:

      – They put you in one of three buckets pretty fast: one of the good guys, part of the problem, and revenue opportunity.

      – The more local, granular, and personal the better you’ll do interacting like with a human. So Feds are more enforcement-bots than state or county revenue-harvesters, than city or town, etc. Dealing with TSA you can’t be anything but fodder for the protocol — don’t bother trying to raise a situation-specific factoid.

      – And you are dealing with one of two kinds: good people doing their best in a crappy system, and jackholes making out when they can, in a crappy system.

      – The thing we all can have in common is we’re operating in a crappy system.

      1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

        Sounds like you may be a neighbor of mine, especially if there are more colleges than private sector employers in the city. Absolutely spot on with the sorting categories but it seems to improve a bit over the river…….still not quite what I would ever particularly trust but far less predatory

        1. avatar Jim Bullock says:

          Hey, SAFE,

          Yeah, good chance we’re neighbors.

          So, here’s a real cost of the Surveillance State, dossier-accusations, and our lovely Senator’s new scheme to investigate our citizen-files (some more) before permitting whatever. (Not to mention the hereditary Proconsul’s endless appetites.)

          I imagine it would be pleasant to run into you sometime, even heads’ up about some political or policy thing. I do wonder how to do that without producing evidence that’ll ban us both from ever being permitted a gun in this province. Or anything else, eventually. Engaged citizens are just too sketchy to be trusted with anything, really.

      2. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Hm. Think I’ll stay in TX, thanks anyway.

  21. avatar Patrol cop says:

    “If you don’t let me look in your car, I will have to get a warrant, and then you will be in trouble,”
    I have never said that and I have never heard any other cop say it. A warrant for WHAT? Where do you guys live?

    1. avatar Specialist38 says:

      if you get pulled in FL or GA on I-95 or I-75, it is common for the trooper to ask if they can take a look in your car. They are very polite and calm.

      Started with the Zero Tolerance thing years ago. 95 and 75 are big drug corridors and they are fishing.. SOP from what I have experienced and had related ro me.

      1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

        Can’t speak for the Carolinas or Virginia but that is how stops on 95 tend to go from Maryland to Massachusetts for the same reason…….and human trafficking sadly.

      2. avatar GS650G says:

        The found a Uhaul truck full of money and drugs near port st lucie backing the 90s on 95. Drug dog pissed all over the place when they walked him around. After that they were pulling over uhaul trucks left and right.
        Out of state tags in Georgia and you are pulled for speeding they will probably ask if there is anything in the car they need to know about. I’ve always found that question hilarious as there is no reason I can see for a cop to know about anything in my car.

        You can spot the one’s doing the authority power trip right away. They prey on people that never interact with cops and don’t know what the rules are. I’ve not a problem with LEO but fish off a pier not a highway.

      3. avatar Puma says:

        Not a request for search, but a form of Police intimdation. I was pulled over for a burned out headlight. I didn’t know it was burned out but being pulled over for it is fair enough. However, I sensed something was off about the cop. This feeling turned out correct when out of nowhere, the cop asks if I had been drinking saying I was speaking in slurred speech. First I don’t drink, I had not drinked that day, and I was driving my mother home. Thankfully she was there to vlouch for me, as I could tell he really wanted to nail me with something more than an equipment violation. The guy was pretty much salvating at me and I was really expecting him to order me out and search the car. He even called backup, the second cop seemed more level and just let me good. Not sure if they were playing good and bad cop, of if the first officer just had a hair up his butt.

  22. avatar Erik Weisz says:

    I have politely but firmly refused to give consent to my vehicle being searched many times. I have always gotten snarky lip back, too, and I reply “how would you feel if I came over to your house and pawed through your wife’s lingerie drawer?” If that doesn’t end it, I say “I can’t stop you, but it will not be with my consent either way.” Not once have they ever searched anyway.

  23. avatar Snake Plisskin says:

    I live in the Deep South and a very gun friendly state (and city/town) and know a lot of the police officers. Would I then allow to search of my vehicle if stopped. Nope; Get a warrant.

    1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

      Snake, I thought you were dead…

      1. avatar Snake Plisskin says:

        Yeah, you and everybody else!

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          How the hell did you get out of New York?

  24. avatar GS650G says:

    “Mind if I search your car?”
    “Id rather not actually”
    “From your refusal and demeanor I’m inferring there is contraband in your car”
    ” and if a judge agrees with you you’ll get a search warrant. And your drug dog will come up empty too so make your phone calls.”
    “We don’t need a warrant”
    “Do you need a job?”

    Conversation I had years ago in Georgia on my way to Florida. I was told I’m free to go. You don’t need to be a jerk but you have to stand your ground a bit and let them know you’re not falling for it.
    I had my trap gun and 9mm in the car and despite being legally transported by a legal gun owner I knew they would toss them both on my paint job and jerk me around for an hour.

  25. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    My CCW instructor was a 20 year career policemen. HE told our class to never consent to a search!
    And he talked about how to get NFA items. All of that made him a good cop to me.

  26. avatar Aaron Walker says:

    Well the same should obviously go against Massachusetts gun licensing schemes…Where the resident / applicant has to have an interview at the local police department with the local licensing officer without an attorney present. And during this interview we’re not giving any Miranda warnings….see below…

    Liberal Vox news exclaims that US Constitutional Infringements and Authoritarianism are the way to go for nationwide gun control. Points to Massachusetts Draconian gun control schemes that discourage gun ownership as best for the nation.

    https://www.vox.com/2018/11/13/17658028/massachusetts-gun-control-laws-licenses

  27. avatar Wally1 says:

    Where in the _____ do you people live? Because you need to move!. Where I live, I have never had a negative interaction with any Police officer. But then I don’t break the law, try not to speed, don’t drive drunk, don’t use drugs, don’t beat my wife and live a relatively drama free life. Your experiences must be a east coast thing or your attitude probably dictated why your interaction escalated. I, however would never consent to any search, not that I have anything to hide, but I believe in my rights.

    Judging from some of the negative law enforcement comments and attitudes, there are some people that just need a healthy pat on the back (of the head with a frying pan, cast iron one).

    1. avatar Shallnot BeInfringed says:

      “Where in the _____ do you people live? Because you need to move!.”

      These commenters live in the United States of America. (No, not the one we grew up in, but the new United States of America, where these things happen all the time.) And if you don’t believe this shit really goes down here, perhaps you simply have your head stuck in the sand – or maybe you’re living under a rock? Either way, you’re not paying attention to the world around you, apparently.

      Besides, where do you suggest these United States citizens move TO? Are you aware of another country that has this level of freedom, yet less corruption and malfeasance than ours? Do tell.

    2. avatar Ardent says:

      I suspect much of this is dependent on the good citizen to habitual criminal ratio these cops encounter. Out here in the Appalachian foot hills of Ohio where I live the ratio has got to be 100 to 1 or more good citizens, and cops are almost entirely easy to get along with unless you’re creating a problem somehow. The thing is that here, even if you’re poor, poorly dressed, poorly educated and driving a poorly maintained car, you’re likely still an honest citizen doing nothing more illegal than the cop himself would do. In some jurisdictions the ratio skews toward more criminal interactions, and in some neighborhoods the ratio of good citizens encountered to criminals might be less than 50/50. It’s no wonder cops are suspicious in those places.
      As for revenue harvesting, there are places even out here in the sticks where that is a concern, and just a couple of years ago a couple of cops from a tiny department went to prison for such behavior, but such is pretty rare here.
      At the same time, if a life long resident of this county were to sit down with a random cop here, it’s certain they have no more than 1 degree of separation, and are likely related in some way or another. How they treat outsiders I don’t know, but given that city people seem to treat each other like crap anyway, it’s not surprising that city cops treat people like crap. Alienation, depersonalization, and all that comes with living on top of a mass of total strangers does bad things to how people interact, and I’d venture this, as much as anything else, is what drives the differences found in police interactions.

  28. avatar Mike. says:

    Is there anywhere where the Police/Homeland Security can search your car? I am thinking going into Airports, bridges, tunnels, Ferrys?

    I drive 95 From NC to FL regularly, never been stopped

  29. “Other reports indicate that the handle of the gun may have been exposed when the police officer approached the driver.”

    So, guns in Florida have “handles”? Do they have “clipazines” too, or a “shoulder thing that goes up”?
    Do they fire “30 clips per round of 0.9 mm ammunition”?
    LOL, the only gun I ever saw with a handle was the M16A1 I used in the Army, and the M16’s “carrying handle” was only used to hold the rear sight.

  30. avatar Wally1 says:

    Well, my comment evidently hit a nerve with some people that have had negative encounters with the Police. This is usually caused by you and your attitude more than the Police. Travon Martin = Justified. Michael Brown = Justified. There are those of us who actually think facts matter! You are in America, as am I and we have the option to choose where we live. I choose to live where there is minimal crime, great police who actually do there job and work with the community and the rule of law means something. If you live in a hell hole like Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago or L.A. etc, Wake Up!. Life can be much better. If you move just don’t being your crappy attitude with you. But then again, it’s easier to just do nothing and bitch and complain how the world has treated you. Take responsibility, if you don’t like he results concerning your station in life, blame yourself and your parents.

    1. avatar Michael Buley says:

      I live north of Seattle, in a town that’s just about all white. So it’s a very nice, prosperous town. The police help keep it that way. I’ve never had any kind of encounter with the police that others have described here.

      Like Wally and most of us, I don’t speed, drink and drive, do drugs, cause problems. I drive an old car, but it’s nice. I dress decently. The few times I have been stopped, there’s been a reason, and it’s all gone fine. I carry, I keep a gun in the glove box. Last time I got stopped was 2.5 years ago. Before I went to the glove box to get my registration, I told the officer that I had my permit to carry, and there was a pistol in the glove box. He showed no reaction other than thanked me for telling him.

      Here it’s nice. The people are nice. The police are nice. Probably a throwback in many ways to what life was like in the 60s throughout much of America, prior to the Immigration Act that was the precursor to many of our country’s problems.

      I can’t speak from any experience other than my own. I think someone’s overall attitude is immediately picked up by the police. They judge you by the car you drive, how you dress, how you look, and by what they pick up about you — intuition, years of reading people, whatever we want to call it. They react instantly to our tone of voice, gestures, mannerisms. They are experts at reading people. They have to be, and they are. Doesn’t mean they’re always right. None of us is. But most times, they are.

      My son — I noted earlier that he was stopped, consented to a search (arrogant that what he had, couldn’t be found, and it was), ended up in prison for 13 months — had a lot of run-ins with the police in high school and beyond. When he was busted, the hair was long, the shades were on, his car had the tinted windows. He hated police, and it’s almost impossible to hide that. He was foolish in a lot of ways, though 13 months in prison was harsh — though it did help him to change his ways. Some good came out of it.

      Police have an extremely difficult job. In good areas like where I live, they can be more at ease than in other, ‘more diverse areas,’ or mostly black areas. Blacks account for a vastly disproportionate percentage of crime and violence in our country. The more ‘mixed’ it is, the greater the danger. Those are facts that of course make one racist for pointing out.

      The lives of police are on the line. They have to be alert every instant. It’s not lost on any of us when police have been randomly targeted and killed just for being police.

      I won’t consent to a search if the situation arises. I’ll say as little possible. If anything might possibly be used against me — even in the case where the police come knocking at the door to see if I ‘saw anything’ re a child abduction, let’s say; as was pointed out, if you’re the last person to see a child alive, good luck to you having acknowledged it — I’ll decline comment. I’m not paranoid. It’s good to be cautious, at the least.

      There are ‘bad cops’ out there, of course. And there are plenty of ‘bad people’ out there that the police have to protect themselves and us against, and try to ferret out in brief encounters.

      I think most police are very good people. They risk their lives to be out there. I think if we treat them with respect, things will go okay. Sometimes they don’t. Hopefully we live to tell the tale.

      Reminds me of a story I read years ago, and you might know the basics of.

      A fellow is walking on the road to the next town. He comes across an old man sitting on the side of the road.

      He says to the old man, ‘What are the people like in the next town?’

      The old man asks him, ‘What were they like in the town you came from?’

      The fellow says, ‘Oh, they were mean, argued all the time, critical, unpleasant. Had to get out of there.’

      The old man says, ‘Hmmm. That’s what they’re like in the next town.’

      The fellow thanked him, and went off in a different direction.

      Awhile later, another fellow comes along. He, too, asks the old man what the people are like in the next town. And the old fellow replies with the same question: “What were they like in the town you came from?”

      The fellow says, ‘Very good people. Kind, considerate, polite. I enjoyed living among them.’

      The old man says, ‘Ahhh, that’s what they’re like in the next town. You’ll enjoy them.’

      The fellow thanks the old man, and off he goes to the next town.

      Or as a quote I like says, ‘We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.’

  31. avatar racer88 says:

    There are several things “wrong” with this story.

    The police found his licensed and registered firearm under a book bag under his seat instead of locked up in the car.

    Firearms are neither licensed nor registered in the state of Florida.

    Secondly, there is no requirement for a firearm to be “locked up” in a car in the state of Florida. The law reads that it must be “securely encased.” That means it can be in your glove compartment, center console, a zipped case (or book bag), etc. It can be loaded, of course.

    Something is very wrong with the way the story is being reported. No surprise, though.

    1. avatar racer88 says:

      Adding… a concealed carry license is NOT needed to have a gun in your car in the state of Florida. Again… it must only be securely encased. A CCW is needed if you are going to have the firearm ON you in your car.

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