If the police pull you over for suspicion of a DUI or if they show up at your house in pursuit of controlled substances, you can expect that an officer will ask to search your vehicle or property. You might feel powerless at that moment, but you actually have rights that protect you under such circumstances.
Knowing the extent of your rights can help you protect yourself from the consequences of a crime for which the police cannot lawfully hold you accountable.
Your right to remain silent
The most important right you can exercise when police ask to search your vehicle or house is your right to remain silent. Without a warrant, an officer cannot rightfully search your property unless they have a reasonable cause to believe that illegal activity is occurring or if you offer your consent. Choosing to remain silent ensures that you will not inadvertently consent to a search or implicate yourself in a crime.
Your rights against a wrongful search and seizure
If a police officer conducts a wrongful search and seizure in your vehicle or on your property, you have the right to contest the validity of that search in court. Keep in mind that you are also under the protection of the exclusionary rule, a provision of the Fourth Amendment which states that a court shall not recognize evidence obtained as a result of a wrongful search and seizure.
When the police ask to search your vehicle or house, your best course of action is to invoke your right to remain silent. It is not wise to resist a search, but take heart in knowing that the law protects you from any incrimination that may result from a wrongful seizure.