Do I have the right to fully refuse a search of my vehicle?

UPDATED: Oct 23, 2012

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Do I have the right to fully refuse a search of my vehicle?

The “probable cause” was that I was “defensive” when he asked me to search.

Asked on October 23, 2012 under Criminal Law, West Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, you can't necessarily prevent the search, but you can register that you are not consenting or agreeing to it--that is, make it plain to the officers and any witnesses that you do not consent--then after the fact, if the results of the search yield any evidence which is sought to be used against you, you or your attorney can try to have the evidence excluded on the basis that there was not sufficient cause for a warrantless, unconsented search. Whether there was or was not sufficient cause is something that courts determine on a case-by-case basis, based on the circumstances of each situation.

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