If you are a Missouri resident who finds yourself or your property the subject of a search, you might not know what to do or what your rights are. The most important thing to remember, though, is to not consent to any type of search and speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. Here, the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center will summarize what else you should know and how to avoid more legal trouble.
According to Missouri’s American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU, a non-profit organization that defends individuals’ rights, it is imperative you remain calm and collected. The worst thing you can do is resist arrest, argue with the officer, or keep your hands out of plain view.
If you are free to leave, do so quietly and without altercation. If you are under arrest, they are obligated to tell you why. Also, remember you do not have to answer questions. Simply state that you are exercising your right to remain silent. Some local laws may require you to tell officers your name, so ask if the law says you must.
Further, if they want to search you, they must have your consent. An officer can pat you down if they think you have a weapon on you, but that is it. Do not resist a pat-down, but you are allowed to refuse further searching.
If you are driving in your vehicle and you are being stopped, pull over as safely and quickly as possible. Then, turn the car off, roll down the window, and put your hands on the wheel. The officer will ask for your license, registration, and insurance.
In the event the officer asks to look inside your vehicle, you are perfectly within your rights to refuse. If an officer believes there is evidence in your car, they do not need your consent to search it. If they ask you questions, you do not have to answer and can remain silent. As a passenger, you can ask to leave if you are not under arrest. If the officer says you may, you can leave or remain silent.
If police officers, FBI agents, or immigration organizations like ICE want to search your house, you do not have to consent unless they have specific warrants. When they knock, ask them to slip the warrant under the door or hold it up to the window.
If it is a standard warrant, the officers can enter your property but only to look for certain items as outlined in the document. If the warrant is an arrest warrant, officers can enter without consent if they believe the suspect is inside the home. If it is a warrant of removal or a warrant for deportation, the officers cannot come in without consent.
Despite what type of warrant the officers have, you can exercise your right to remain silent. If you answer questions, do so outside with the door closed.
The best thing you can do is contact a lawyer if you are facing a search of your person, motor vehicle, or property. It is especially important if your rights are being violated.
Looking for an experienced criminal defense attorney to help defend your rights? Get top legal defense from the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center today for a free consultation. Contact us now! (816) 281-0941