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Being Searched? Arrest, Search, Seizure, Warrant

Discussion in 'Criminal Procedure, Criminal Court' started by snyx, Aug 13, 2001.

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  1. snyx

    snyx Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I got alot of "rave" like parties, all with 1000+ people, DJ's, and all with permits to operate. Now if one is busted (more like shutdown) by the police, and they ask to search me am I forced to allow them to, or can I refuse? Do they have to arrest me? plus another thing, there are alot of drugs at these parties, now I would never carry them, or try to smuggle them in, but what then is the law on police searching my bag? Lets say I was just walking around, like 500 other people around me, or leaving, and they asked to search me or my bag? Just curious on the laws on it? Plus how does it change if im under the influence of somthing, and they ask me?

    Thanks!
    snyx
     
  2. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Snyx... think you are in Canada, and I'm not sure if the laws are the same in BC as they are in the US. In the US the standard is typically "probable cause/suspicion" for a warrantless search. States can enact specific statutes for probable cause, which has been defined as "a reasonable suspicion, based on articulable facts, which indicated that a crime had occurred, was occurring, or was about to occur and that the suspect might be involved." (NOTE: my post below deals with your ability to decline a warrantless search, which is limited to questioning and a pat down on the outside of the clothing for weapons.)

    The Massachusetts State Supreme Court has ruled that police can use random checkpoints to prevent DWI/DUI (driving while intoxicated/driving under the influence) but cannot search for illegal drugs without first having reasonable cause/suspicion. The court reasoned that that DUI checkpoints prevent "an imminent public danger" while drug searches only aid in investigations.

    My understanding is that police can't just search you at a party. If you were in the proximity of illegal drugs being exchanged, then it might give a police officer a "reasonable suspicion" to search you as being potentially involved in an illicit transaction. If you were intoxicated, it may reasonably affect the reasonableness for a search. It is possible that you might be suspected of either (1) being in violation of some statute related to intoxication, or (2) suspected of possessing/using illegal drugs.
     
  3. snyx

    snyx Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks man, now I read somewhere you can turn down a search? That being searched without being arrested first is like voluntarily allowing the police to search you. Is that true?
     
  4. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    I think that generally in the US you can refuse a search without an arrest and that if you do consent it is giving permission to the officer to search you. It also may protect your legal rights in the event of a invalid search (most will say they didn't consent voluntarily, e.g. were scared, even if they did). However, I believe that the "search" they can perform upon you without consent is limited to a pat down for weapons on the outside of a person's clothes and questioning. A stop like this can turn into an arrest.
     
  5. snyx

    snyx Law Topic Starter New Member

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    wow, thanks man, you have been a big help! next time I get searched, I will refuse (kindly) and tell ya what happens
     

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