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How do you phrase consent to search?


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  • #16
    Originally posted by BaylorBearSW View Post
    For this reason is why I always ask twice. I do the "You don't have any objections to me searching your vehicle for any of those items?" When they say No, I then reply, "You don't mind?" And again they say no, I'll then say wait right here with this officer, or on my push bumper while I conduct the search. It gives them another chance to revoke consent. It may sound like I am giving them an out, but it hasn't happened yet, and I've never gone to court over any cases involving consented searches. I also make the long list of things because if I just ask for weapons and I find a tiny bud of weed under the floor mat, I don't want some slimy defense attorney trying to suppress based upon no weapons could reasonably be concealed under a floor mat without some sort of bulge in the mat or something similar. That's sort of a poor example but I think it makes my point.
    I think the example on where you'd be looking and the suppression would be finding a match box and looking inside it to find the dope. I can think of a dozen things that wouldn't bulge under the floor mat, but most of them are edged weapons. How you get around the matchbox thing is that when you find it you don't open it and take it back to them and ask them about the drugs inside...


    • #17
      Let's distinguish between a protective frisk and a search for evidence or contraband. Here in Washington State, consent searches of homes and vehicles are controlled by State v. Ferrier, 136 Wn.2d 103, 118-19, 960 P.2d 927 (1998).

      Officers are advised to give the following warnings:

      1. You have the right to refuse to consent.

      2. If you consent to the search, you have the right to withdraw the consent at any time.

      3. You have the right to limit the scope of the consent to certain areas of the premises or vehicle.

      4. Evidence found during the search may be used in court against you or any other person.

      Some agencies used printed forms or cards and get a signature so there's no question about what who said what.

      Consult your legal adviser for what works in your jurisdiction.


      • #18
        Personally I used the word "search" vs. saying "can I take a look in your vehicle.". Search means search..."look around" is open to interpetation.


        • #19
          "Show me yours and I'll show you mine."
          Getting shot hurts! Don't under estimate the power of live ammo. A .22LR can kill you! I personally feel that it's best to avoid being shot by any caliber. Your vest may stop the bullet, but you'll still get a nice bruise or other injury to remember the experience.


          • #20
            Whatever you say, be consistent. Maybe you like to ask, "Do you mind if I search your person for any concealed weapons or narcotics?" Try and ask it like that every time. It may not be the smoothest wording, but you can take the witness stand at the motion to suppress and be confident that's exactly how you worded your request for consent. Defense attorneys like to break balls and trip up cops on the wording. "Now officer, your contact with my client was three months ago. How can you be sure that's how you asked him for his consent? Maybe on this occasion you were more ambiguous with your request." Then you can say, "Look here you trick a&s mark, I know that's how I asked him, because that's how I ask every person. Every time."


            • #21
              uh, well.............

              Uh oh, oh snap.....wrong thread, sorry.
              Harry S. Truman, (1884-1972)
              “Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day.”

              Capt. E.J. Land USMC,
              “Just remember – life is hard. But it’s one hell of a lot harder if you’re stupid.

              George Washington, (1732-1799)
              "I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man."

              Originally posted by Country_Jim
              ... Thus far, I am rooting for the zombies.


              • #22
                Consent to search has to be straightforward here, and you have to inform them that they can decline.

                Best to figure out some form of PC and take that route.

                If you're asking you have a reason, so articulate it.
                "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

                "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet


                • #23
                  Consent is a good backup (independent source) if other exceptions get ruled "improper."

                  "A good rule-of-thumb is to seek consent for all non-emergency searches." (Rutledge, linked earlier. He even suggests consent as "insurance" for a search under a warrant.)
                  Capital Punishment means never having to say "you again?"


                  • #24
                    I'm not sure about policies everywhere, but it's all about articulation. I always ask them about what I DON'T expect to find. If I think they've got dope on them I'll ask if they have any guns, knives, bazookas, etc. My favorite phrase after that when they say they don't is "you don't mind if I check then?" And boom. Consent. Reasonable suspicion under Terry is always good if you can articulate why you did the pat down. For an actual search though, I'd rather have PC. You could have someone straight up say "I consent to you searching me" but if it's not not on camera (my dept. doesn't even have squad cameras) or if the camera isn't recording and you find something illegal they'll always change their story and say they didn't provide consent. Shady but it happens.


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Blackhawk10 View Post
                      I'm not sure about policies everywhere, but it's all about articulation. I always ask them about what I DON'T expect to find. If I think they've got dope on them I'll ask if they have any guns, knives, bazookas, etc. My favorite phrase after that when they say they don't is "you don't mind if I check then?" And boom. Consent.
                      But if you get consent to search for weapons, that limits the scope of your search to containers that could hold a weapon. You could be as certain as you wanna be that a small opaque container (or a lot of small opaque containers) hold(s) drugs, and your searching proves you were right about that, but you could end up losing all of it in court.

                      "The question before us, then, is whether it is reasonable for an officer to consider a suspect's general consent to a search of his car to include consent to examine a paper bag lying on the floor of the car. We think that it is.

                      "The scope of a search is generally defined by its expressed object. United States v. Ross, [citation omitted]. In this case, the terms of the search's authorization were simple. Respondent granted Officer Trujillo permission to search his car, and did not place any explicit limitation on the scope of the search." Florida v. Jimeno (1991) [Emphasis in first paragraph added: "general consent."]

                      Usual disclaimer: I am not a lawyer; check with your local prosecutor.
                      Capital Punishment means never having to say "you again?"


                      • #26
                        But if you can articulate what you were searching for and something else is found during the search it's a mute point. I, for example, have a pocket knife that when folded is about an inch and a half long. I've also seen single shot zip guns the size of a pinky, guns disguised as cell phones, etc. As long as I can articulate why I searched a particular area for a weapon it's still covered. It's the same reason why when getting a search warrant for stolen car parts or items related to auto theft often times you'll see roset rivettes as items being searched for, they can be hidden practically anywhere and it opens up a lot of options.

                        I do see what you're saying though. General consent would ideally be the better course of action, most definitely.


                        • #27
                          I was taught at the academy and fto to always say the word search. "look around" is not the greatest way to go about it but it has been done and worked in the officers favor at court.

                          for me: Do you have any weapons, contraband, bombs on your person or car, can I search your car/person?


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