What to Do if the Police Search You, Your Home, or Your Vehicle
One of the most drastic tools in criminal law is the ability of the police to conduct searches. The most common search types involve people's bodies and clothes, their homes, and their vehicles.
If you're subject to a search, you might wonder what you should do. A criminal law attorney will advise you to do these four things.
Ask for the Basis of the Search
When the cops conduct searches, criminal requires them to have a purpose. The law prohibits fishing expeditions. You have the right to ask them what they're searching for and why. Try to make a mental note of what they state because it may have value in mounting a criminal defense later.
You should ask them if they have a warrant. If they don't, then you should ask them to clearly state why they believe they have sufficient cause for a warrantless search. If they do have a warrant, then tell them to present you with a physical copy immediately.
Refuse to Answer Their Questions
The law doesn't require you to answer police questions. If they ask you where something is, tell them you're invoking your right to remain silent. Also, make the police aware you won't answer their questions without a criminal law attorney present.
The point of interacting with the cops is just to make them go on the record with their explanation of the search. They're the police so you're probably not going to be able to safely stop the search. Allow them to conduct the search and try to note anything they touch or take. If possible, try to see where they're searching.
Make or Stream a Video
If you have your phone available, start recording. Better yet, stream the search to a cloud server or social media platform. Live streaming isn't ideal, but you may want to do it if it's the only option. If you can stream the video, that reduces the odds a cop will be able to destroy the camera or delete the video. Don't interfere with the search, and don't use the video to antagonize the police. Simply record as quietly as you possibly can.
Contact a Lawyer
Call a criminal law attorney at the first opportunity. Do so during the search if possible. If you can't, then contact a lawyer as soon as the search has ended. If the police physically detain you in relation to the search, demand to see an attorney and repeat the demand until the cops either release you or let you have counsel.