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CCW, "Duty to Inform," and refusing a search

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Eightball, Oct 10, 2009.

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  1. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    So, I started thinking (always a bad sign), and I came across a few different threads on various boards about how to properly and legally refuse to consent to a search if you get pulled over. I started thinking some more, and wondered about how well that would work in the case of a CCW holder, and also what would be the SOP in a "Duty to Inform" state (speaking of which, is there a list of all the states where that is a requirement vs. not? I always get it confused). Is it possible, while CCWing in a "Duty to Inform" state, to refuse assent to a search without getting arrested? And, regardless of "duty to inform", if an officer asks if there's any weapons in the car, is there a way to answer that question truthfully while still refusing to assent to a search (if still legal)?

    Not trying to be a tinfoil hat lawyer, but I just started wondering about it, and realized that while to the best of my knowledge there would be nothing inside my car that could get me some kinda citation or arrest (nothing to hide), there's always the chance that there's some obscure thing with which they could nail you, so I'm just trying to avoid that entirely while still complying with the law.

    Sorry if this is some kinda super-dupe, but searching for things like this can send you into the dark abyss of 18,000 threads, the same as searching for anything 1911 related, etc.

    ETA: Also, how would one go about getting their registration if they've already got a firearm in their glovebox? Get it before the LEO gets out of his car, so that it's not even an issue? Tell him "Hey, Officer, I would give you my registration, but there's a firearm in the glove box"? Or....?
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2009
  2. scottaschultz

    scottaschultz Member

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    If you have nothing to hide, why are you refusing?

    Scott
     
  3. SFB

    SFB Member

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    scott - if the police started coming to your house once a month to search it, if you had nothing to hide, would you just let them in every month?

    we have rights for a reason. you have to draw the line somewhere. i personally will always refuse to a search, even if i have nothing to hide (which i don't have anything to hide). they better get a warrant or have some real good probable cause before they start tearing my vehicle apart for no reason.
     
  4. Riss

    Riss Member

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    Not sure about duty to inform as we do not have it here, and I have no idea what states do. As far as lying, and saying that yo do not have a gun when you really do, NEVER DO IT. Always tell the truth. I am sure you can always refuse a search. ONLY if there is probable cause could you possibly get held and searched later even if you refused consent. If you start lying about things that could only give the Law reason to hold you and build on their suspicion that would lead to a search.
     
  5. conw

    conw Member

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    This is covered extensively elsewhere, but...

    -people have had their cars literally ripped apart after consenting to a search
    -people have had "evidence" confiscated and not returned for a long time, or ever
    -people do sometimes have evidence planted, although this is rare, and if you didn't do anything wrong then you have nothing to fear from NOT consenting to a search either (this isn't a cop bashing point, just a fact, albeit rarely occurring)
    -I have better things to do with my time than allow a police officer as much time as he wishes once I consent to a search
    -people who bought used cars have been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, etc, that was stuck in the seats


    Catch my drift?
     
  6. scottaschultz

    scottaschultz Member

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    SFB, don't put words in my mouth! The OP is not talking about the police coming to his house once a month to search his house.

    If you want to refuse a search of your vehicle (which is what the OP is asking!!!), that is of course your right, but I would tend to think that the officer(s) are not going to apologize for wasting your time and sending you on your way.

    Scott
     
  7. SFB

    SFB Member

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    scott - alright change house to car, whatever, you know what i am getting at. LE doesn't have the right to just search your vehicle because they WANT to.
     
  8. scottaschultz

    scottaschultz Member

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    OK, these are all valid points, but I am 52 years old and have been driving for over 36 years. In all that time, I have been pulled over just a handful of times, probably less than 10, and in all that time, I have NEVER been asked to have my vehicle searched.

    Maybe its because I don't have a criminal record of any kind. Maybe its because I always try my best to cooperate with the officer on those rare times when I get stopped. I don't know exactly how to do this, but maybe its because I try not to act "suspicious" when I get stopped. Maybe I'm just lucky!

    Scott
     
  9. Zach S

    Zach S Member

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    We have a duty to inform in NC.

    For the most part, its no big deal. The LEO just glances as my papers and proceeds with the stop. Same at seat belt/DUI checkpoints. They dont even look at my tag, or even the inspection sticker (which was dead for four years).

    The only time I was disarmed was before I had my CHP. The trooper didn't take possession of my pistol, he just had me step out of the car and wait at the back of it while he wrote my ticket.

    The only time my CHP caused a problem with LE was in Yancey County.
     
  10. conw

    conw Member

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    In the present climate younger people are more likely to face suspicion from cops, perhaps with statistical reasons to back that up (I'm not opposed to "profiling" if it's based on reality rather than bias).

    I'm 22, and I don't really have any reason to worry either, but I am prepared to know my rights and not get screwed over by one bad apple out there. I normally handle cops well and they are cool with me, even a bit of joking around takes place, etc. But seriously, I don't let that prevent me from being very, very cautious; it's not that every, or many, cops are "bad," it's a matter of the consequences from making a mistake IF I happen to run into one.
     
  11. SFB

    SFB Member

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    scott - i guess i am just speaking from past experiences. many times when i was younger i was profiled and asked to have my vehicle searched just because of the way i looked. i refused every time, even with nothing to hide, even being "detained" for over an hour while a police officer waited for a k-9 unit which discovered nothing. i am a straight shooter and in the military, but i will never submit to a search. it is a violation of my privacy that i don't appreciate.

    to stick to the OP's topic, florida does not have a "duty to inform" law and i wouldn't inform unless i felt it absolutely necessary (i.e. i am concealing on my person and i am asked to step out of the vehicle, etc..). no need to bring attention to a non-issue during a routine traffic stop.

    Edited to add: every time i have been pulled over and/or asked to consent to a search i am as polite as possible and have nothing but 100% respect for the LEO. even if they don't have 100% respect for my rights. as i am older now, and drive much more cautiously and lawfully, and my appearance has changed i don't have that problem anymore.
     
  12. LubeckTech

    LubeckTech Member

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    Just how inportant are constutional rights?? Our Constution CLEARLY states that we have the right to be secure in our persons and property. If the government or it's agents wish to search they need a specific reason aka probable cause. If you take the "nothing to hide" attitude YOU are participitating in the erosion of our liberties!! According to Supreme Court judge Oliver Windell Holmes (no he was not a character on Green Acres) if you do not aggressivly assert a right it does not exist. This needs to be done in such a way as not to tick off the officer or you might find yourself under arrest for possession of whatever they happen to have at the station. None the less it is not unreasonable for you to POLITELY ask as to what probable cause he or she has to search. You may find there is a good reason like your vehicle may match the description of one driven by someone who just stole a case of beer from a local convience store. If the answer is it's just our policy of if you are told the search is constitutional because they search everybody politely refuse. In many cases they will simply say OK and let it go. In other circumstances they may detain you and call for a canine unit to sniff the vehicle and if he alerts they would use that for probable cause and obtain a warrant if necessary. Be aware that if you do assert your rights they CAN cause you problems like destroying your vehicle's interior in the name of a "search" or ticketing you for anything they could think of that they normally would let go. Bottom line is freedom is not free and anytime you stand up for yourself there are risks.
     
  13. Ringer

    Ringer Member

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    Michigan is "must inform" and I have done it 3 times over the years. The first 2 times they all but ignored the fact I informed them I was carrying. The last one did ask "what kind of weapon are you carrying?". I responded and there was no more mention of it.

    As far as I know, at least in MI, informing of carrying does not change anything about my rights to consent, or not, to a search. I'm in the "don't consent" camp but like scottaschultz I have had numerous encounters with LEO over the years and never been asked regardless of my age at the time.
     
  14. LubeckTech

    LubeckTech Member

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    According to the fourth ammendment profiling is not probable cause. It's not OK to pull someone over or ask to search because they have an NRA sitcker on their vehicle. Nor is it OK to detain someone at an airport strip search them and feed them a laxative because they regularly fly a given route and pay for their ticket in cash.
     
  15. scottaschultz

    scottaschultz Member

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    And if you believe that they will just say OK and let it go, here is something I would like to sell you!

    [​IMG]

    EDIT:

    And here is the back side of my vehicle:
    [​IMG]
    That sticker above the wiper arm has been there for over 10 years!

    Scott
     
  16. conw

    conw Member

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    Your response to this, while waiting, could be "Am I free to go or am I under arrest?" If they said "You aren't under arrest, but you are being detained," ask to speak to the supervisor and raise a fuss. Should be allowed to go after that. I am not aware of any discretionary ability of police officers to detain people for prolonged periods based only on suspicion with nothing other than "He might have something in his car because he didn't consent to a search."

    I am not really an advocate of raising a fuss, but doing so strategically IF things are already going badly could be an option.
     
  17. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    Ohio is a "must inform" state, but ONLY if you're carrying. You have no obligation to notify if you're not carrying and I never would.

    I will NEVER:

    Consent to ANY search.

    Talk to police about any matter in which I could conceivably be a suspect, except as required by law (notify when armed, show CHL if asked when armed, give VERBAL name and address when not armed). "Officer, am I free to leave?" If the answer is "No", then "Officer, I have nothing further to say without a lawyer present." And that's that. Leave the "banter" with police to the actors on "Law & Order".

    Any conceivable good that might remotely come from waiving your rights is vastly overwhelmed by the dangers that arise therefrom.

    For me to "trust" all cops who stop me is every bit as foolish as for a cop to "trust" every motorist he stops.

    A cop may not like it if you make him obey the law. I couldn't care less. The law is the law. Nobody has to like it. They just have to obey it. And that includes cops. If either of us breaks the law, there are consequences.
     
  18. mgregg85

    mgregg85 Member

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    I think I would give up my second amendment rights if I could just be allowed to slap anyone who utters those words. What kind of backwards thinking came up with that crap? It sounds like it came right out of the mouth of a gestapo agent in Nazi Germany.

    People who espouse such nonsense are ruining America just as fast as the Brady center people and Dianne Feinstein. Its garbage reasoning like that that gave us the PATRIOT act.
     
  19. SFB

    SFB Member

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    conwict - i know this now, at the time (i was 17) i did not know i could just ask why i am being detained and if i wasn't under arrest i had the right to leave. i knew that they didn't have the right to search my vehicle for no reason though, and as stubborn as i am i held out until the K-9 got there and didn't alert on my vehicle.
     
  20. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    Two different things in one thread, which is a bummer.

    If you have a CHL in a "must inform" jurisdiction, hey, you agreed to their deal when you got the CHL. I've read here at THR that some cops in northern states get goosey about a legal CHL guy maintaining possession during a routine traffic stop and wanting to hold the handgun during the ticket-writing. I don't know if that's legal, but on the side of the highway is no place to argue the meaning of the Constitution.

    Otherwise, yeah, you have the right to refuse a search.
     
  21. NoAlibi

    NoAlibi Member

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    You may not lie to a police officer - it's called "giving false information" and in many jurisdictions it is a crime. There are some exceptions to this and the Supreme Court has even created one of these ludicrous exceptions.

    You might try saying, "I appreciate the job that you are doing for us, but I don't feel the need to answer that question or see how it can help you to do your job unless you can articulate any probable cause that you may have. Caution: The police are allowed to lie to you - with a few exceptions.

    The only one that has some ability to make you answer a question is a judge and that would be under the threat of a contempt citation and in most cases only after you have been given immunity. You can still refuse, but you might wind up staying in the calaboose for a long, long time.


    If you buy a one-way ticket with cash at Palm Beach International Airport and you don't have any baggage, I promise you that you will be detained. I'm not saying that it's right, but it is going to happen!

    It might be a good thing to remember what one of our members once said in a post, "The police are employed to gather information against anyone they come in contact with."
     
  22. OldMac

    OldMac Member

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    Never Consent

    Twice in the eighties I was asked to consent to a search. Both times I politely said no. Once they asked me to exit the vehicle. As I complied, I hit the auto door lock and shut the door. At the back of the car, I watched them try every door handle with no luck. Both times had me back on the road in the time it takes to write a ticket. I had nothing to hide and didn't wish to spend my time hanging out with them either.

    You can rest assured, that they have the tools necessary to find the true evidence needed if they really suspect that it is in your car. If they are just fishing, they will move on. If they are really looking for a BG in a car just like yours, then you will hang out with them until they get in your car regardless of how you answer the question. Always be polite and honest to reduce their stress and avoid emotions and errors.
     
  23. gbran

    gbran Member

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    Does "duty to inform" require presentation?
     
  24. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    Presentation of what? A CCW license? Yes.

    To the OP...

    Once you inform the police of the presence of a weapon either via informing them of CCW status or if they ask, the police then have the right to disarm you for safety. What that means is that they can frisk your person for weapons and temporarily confiscate any weapon that you have on your person.

    First step is to store your weapon, if you are not going to have it on your person, in a separate location from your registration and proof of insurance. Put the registration and insurance above the visor, for example and the weapon in the glovebox.

    Second step, if they ask you to step out of your vehicle, take your registration and insurance and all other documents such as license, CCW with you. Take the keys to the vehicle with you. Step out of the vehicle and lock it if it is easily locked. Keep the keys in your hand. At this point the police may now only remove weapons from on your person, they cannot claim officer safety as a reason to search your vehicle. At this point, you may refuse any and all requests to search your vehicle but must submit to a frisk. They can only remove items from your pockets, etc, if they have reason to believe it is a weapon. For instance, removing your wallet is off limits, legally, because there is no way a wallet can feel like a weapon during a frisk. They certainly have no legal basis to open your wallet if they do remove it.

    In no circumstances can they remove something from your vehicle for officer safety once you are out of the vehicle. AND if they see a weapon in plain sight within the vehicle, say a handgun on the passenger seat, their correct action is to ask you to leave the vehicle, NOT remove the gun from the vehicle.

    Where this would really get sticky is if they remove you from the vehicle AND they have reason to believe there are weapons in your vehicle AND there are documents in the vehicle needed. That's why you keep the documents separate from the gun storage location and bring the documents with you when you get out.

    Also, watch "BUSTED: a citizen's guide to surviving a police encounter" on youtube.

    Hope this helps,
    NavyLT
     
  25. danbrew

    danbrew member

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    Maybe you're a different color than I am? Maybe you listen to different music? Maybe you have different bumper stickers than I do? Maybe you have a "conservative" car? Or maybe you don't ride a motorcycle?

    Consenting to a search is a fishing expedition. Period. If law enforcement has reasonable grounds to believe that you have committed a crime, they'll arrest you. If not, they have no right to search you or your vehicle. Go watch a few episodes of "COPS" and see some very common ploys to solicit a search.

    I'm not a criminal and I don't choose to be treated like one. I'm pretty sensitive to the "if you've got nothing to hide, a search shouldn't bother you..." as that's not the way the constitution works.

    I was pulled over on a motorcycle a number of years ago and I was carrying. Although not required to, I told the officer I was carrying. He requested that I not move and he would unholster my weapon for his safety. I told him the holster was comparable to a Level 3 holster and I would be happy to retrieve the firearm and unload it and hand it to him, but I didn't want him to attempt to retrieve it because I didn't want him to screw up and shoot me with it. He thought about it for a few minutes and told me that he wanted to remove it. I told him that I would not permit him to do so and that, if he felt it necessary, he could shoot me or call for backup. I said all of this in a very calm and friendly way but I also told him it would be unlikely that he would be able to remove the firearm from the holster without an accidental discharge and I didn't want to get shot. He thought about it for a few more minutes and then asked me to do my thing. I did, unloaded it, and handed it to him.

    He then tells me that he wants to search my locked saddlebags. I told him no. He said "if you've got nothing to hide..." and I told him that if he had grounds to arrest me, he should, but that I would not consent to a search.

    I did get a speeding ticket as a result of the encounter, but I figured I would from the start because of his demeanor. Guess I shouldn't speed.

    The cop asked me not to load my gun until he left - I thought about telling him to go **** himself and ask him to unload his gun, but decided that I didn't need to push the issue.

    I did ask him why he was so worried and made such an issue of it when I voluntarily disclosed that I was carrying. He went on about officer safety and I told him that, if I had wanted to, I could have shot him when he pulled me over - but I didn't because I don't go around shooting cops (or anyone). He didn't like that much.

    As a result, I won't ever disclose that I am carrying unless required to do so by law.
     
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