In our previous article by the Kronzek Firm, we discussed exactly what a ‘search’ and what a ‘seizure’ are under Michigan law. We also looked at a few of the exceptions to the general rule when it comes to an officer needing a warrant to conduct a search. Now that we are all on the same page when it comes to what these terms mean, we want to discuss how you should deal with these situations if you are faced with possible search or seizure in your future.
What are my rights with regard to Search and Seizure?
The Constitution of the United States of America as well as Federal law and Michigan law is very clear about the rights of citizens of our country and our state. Michigan law says that “A person, houses, papers and possessions of every person shall be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures.” This is very similar to the Fourth Amendment to our federal constitution, which states that everyone in the US has the right to be “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”
Michigan law also says that “No warrant to search any place or to seize any person or things shall issue without describing them, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.” This means that, unless an exception applies, an officer must have a warrant to search a person, premises, or vehicle. It also requires police to swear to the probable cause that they believe supports probable cause for the warrant.
What do I do when an officer wants to search my home or car?
If an officer pulls you over, or knocks on your door, the most important thing to remember is that you should stay calm. The second thing to remember is that you should be as polite and courteous as possible. You must also never physically resist a police officer. This does NOT mean that you should let an officer have whatever they want. It simply means that you shouldn’t be rude or disrespectful while you are interacting with them.
Finally, do not be intimidated. You have rights that you are entitled to, and a good attorney will make certain that your rights are respected at all times. Do not allow fear or intimidation to affect your choices or your conduct when interacting with police officers.
DO NOT consent to a search without consulting your attorney before thinking about whether to consent!
As we discussed in the previous article, an officer can get around the need for a warrant if they receive your consent. You MUST NOT grant the police consent to search your home, vehicle or person, even if you have nothing to hide. Don’t allow the police to bully or intimidate you into consenting, and do not believe an officer who says that you should consent simply because they will be able to get a warrant anyway. Also, it is important for you to know that refusing a search does not count as probable cause for an officer to seek a search warrant.
Michigan search and seizure defense attorneys – We preserve your Constitutional rights
We regularly tell our clients that one of the most important opportunities you have to protect your Constitutional rights is when you are confronted by the police without an attorney present. Even if you haven’t done anything illegal, when the police are with you and you don’t have experienced legal counsel by your side, you are at your most vulnerable! The police know this and are likely to try and get you to say something incriminating or to get you to submit to a search. DON’T DO IT!
It is imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as law enforcement approaches you about a search. The sooner your attorney knows about what’s happening, the sooner they can advise you and ensure that your rights are not violated. It is critical that you have an experienced attorney working to defend your rights and protect you from police mistakes and improperly executed warrants. Our phones are answered 24/7, including weekends and holidays. Call us today at 866 766 5245. We can help you work through this situation.