Houston Criminal Lawyer | Agreeing to Search

A common misconception is that if you agree to allow officers to search your car, house, office, etc. that this will either show your innocence or somehow the police officer will just say okay, never mind you must not be hiding anything if you agreed to this.  And then not actually conduct a search at all.

I can promise you that agreeing to a search will not work.  I would advise my clients against consenting to any search, regardless of whether you believe you don’t have anything illegal or have done anything wrong.

Law enforcement or their agents must have probable cause prior to searching without you agreeing to a search.  Probable cause could include various facts such as seeing drug paraphernalia or smelling marijuana. Experienced officers can usually figure out a way to develop probable cause through questioning or from the facts and do not need your assistance to make their job easier.

However, often law enforcement officers do not have probable cause and simply ask for your consent to search.  Officers are trained and highly skilled at making it seem like the search isn’t a big deal. But if you do give consent, it makes it increasingly more difficult (if not impossible, short of coercion) to contest the search after the fact.

Often in a home search, law enforcement will ask another person living at the residence for consent.  Usually this is to gain consent from a party that doesn’t have knowledge of any drugs located in the residence.  Also, be aware that in residence searches a written form is often used to gain permission.  So don’t sign anything.

If you agree to allow the search and something is found, then this is evidence that will be used against you.  By allowing this search you have essentially built a case for the prosecutors.

Hopefully you never find yourself in a situation like this, but if you do you should contact an experienced Houston criminal lawyer.

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