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2 reasons to decline a request to search a vehicle during a stop

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2023 | Criminal Defense

When police officers pull someone over, the driver who has been stopped is often eager to be cooperative. They respectfully comply with an officer’s requests in the hopes of avoiding a ticket and moving on with their day as quickly as possible.

One of the many requests a police officer may make during a traffic stop is to inquire about searching the vehicle. They may phrase their request very casually, and drivers frequently give consent without considering the possible consequences. Motorists who permit a search of their vehicle in Nevada put themselves at a disadvantage because of the two possible issues below.

No one knows what police might find

Especially when people drive used vehicles or are in a rental vehicle as a visitor to Nevada, they may not know exactly what has been in the vehicle before and what others have left behind. There could be drug residue on vehicle surfaces, drug paraphernalia in hidden crevices or even stashes of actual drugs. Anything that the police find in the vehicle may give them grounds to arrest someone and pursue possession charges against the individual driving, despite their shock at what the officers found in the vehicle.

Searches increase the duration of an encounter

Even if someone is absolutely confident that officers will not find anything illegal in their vehicle because it is brand new or they just had it professionally detailed on the inside, consenting to a search of a vehicle can be a mistake. They may find themselves waiting on the side of the road with an officer for quite some time until another police officer arrives. The longer the interaction stretches on, the easier it will be for police officers to potentially trick someone into implicating themselves somehow.

Generally, if police officers have grounds to search a vehicle, they will do so without asking for permission. Motorists who understand that they have the right to decline a search can reduce the likelihood that they will end up facing frivolous charges because of an unexpected outcome to that search of their vehicle. As a result, being aware of one’s rights and making use of them during an encounter with the police may reduce someone’s chances of getting arrested during a traffic stop.