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View Full Version : couple questions about denying search in vehicle or campsite.


kofire
11-01-2009, 4:19 PM
1) When is it ok and NOT ok to politely refuse a search of vehicle and/or camper.
2) Can someone clarify the "safety" check or "loaded" check if I tell them I have a weapon
3) What constitutes "probable cause" I was under the impression that PC could be not signalling or a taillight out or something minor, then your "refusal" rights go out the window?
4) What about BLM rangers in my campsite demanding to see the inside of my camper?

The scenario for all of these questions is I havent done anything wrong, I am just trying to figure when they have a legal right to search me and when it is just harrassment by LEOs.
Sorry for all the questions guys, I used the search function too no avail, I figured I would just ask the experts. thanks :)

If this is too much to ask maybe there is a good link to some former threads on this subject? thanks

HondaMasterTech
11-01-2009, 4:27 PM
Even the President of the United States cannot search your vehicle or person without probable cause that a crime has been or is about to be commited. It would violate the 4th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. However, if a man with a badge and a gun ignores your refusal, don't put up a physical fight. Take care of it in court.

Quiet
11-01-2009, 4:33 PM
#1) It's okay to refuse at anytime.

#2) If you have a firearm in a place where you can not have a loaded firearm, LEOs can check to see if it's unloaded. [PC 12031(e)]

#3) "probable cause signifies a reasonable ground of suspicion supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a cautious man's belief that the person accused is guilty of the offense with which he is charged; or the existence of such facts and circumstances which could lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and that the items, articles or objects sought in connection with said offense or subject to seizure and destruction by law is in the place to be searched."

#4) Search warrant.




Penal Code 12031
(a)(1) A person is guilty of carrying a loaded firearm when he or she carries a loaded firearm on his or her person or in a vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an incorporated city or in any public place or on any public street in a prohibited area of unincorporated territory.
(e) In order to determine whether or not a firearm is loaded for the purpose of enforcing this section, peace officers are authorized to examine any firearm carried by anyone on his or her person or in a vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an incorporated city or prohibited area of an unincorporated territory. Refusal to allow a peace officer to inspect a firearm pursuant to this section constitutes probable cause for arrest for violation of this section

kofire
11-01-2009, 4:59 PM
Oh yeah one more thing can a BLM Ranger come into your campground on BLM land and demand to see your registraion of your OHV vehicles?

Cokebottle
11-01-2009, 5:55 PM
#2) If you have a firearm in a place where you can not have a loaded firearm, LEOs can check to see if it's unloaded. [PC 12031(e)]
This assumes that the LEO knows that you have a firearm.
1 - This would be a situation of the gun being in plain sight (not the case inside of your tent/camper or concealed (unloaded) in your vehicle).
2 - You told him that you have firearms, or you consented to a search of your vehicle/tent/camper... both things that you should not do.

Having targets, ammo boxes, or range bags in plain view pushes it into the area where he would have reasonable suspicion that you have firearms.

They can ask you anything, and unless they have a warrant, you can refuse anything. Attitude is everything. Be polite and respectful and if/when he pushes and violates your Constitutional rights, if everything is legal, he may not dig for a technicality or "make up" charges.
Good evening sir, Yes sir, No sir, I don't know sir, I have nothing illegal in my possession sir.
Unless they just say "Hi guys" as they pass your camp without breaking stride, LEOs aren't contacting you to make small talk. Small talk is a way to get you to let your guard down, and also for them to get you to slip and give up one or more of your rights by asking leading questions. If they chat with you for 15 minutes and suddenly you clam up, they are going to get suspicious and push the issue.

I had a friend once cited at for littering when he placed an empty beer can on the ground next to the campfire, despite the fact that the camp was not littered and there was a trash bag that contained the rest of the empties. He wasn't being an a-hole, the ranger just had an attitude and it was the only thing he could cite him for.

If you are polite, he may find something to cite you for.
If you're an a-hole, he will find something to cite you for. It's a fine line between refusing to answer questions and being disrespectful, but remember that your tent/camper/hotel room is your temporary residence and you have the same rights as you do in your home.
The camp site itself is plain-view.

Regarding the OHVs, if they are in plain view, he can verify that they are legally registered. If they are not registered, or if you have a "red sticker" out of season, I believe he actually must observe you operating the vehicle before you can be cited for anything more than expired registration... though we now come back to "reasonable suspicion that a crime has or will take place", IE: Red stickered vehicle on the trailer or unloaded in the camp when it is not obviously a "parts" bike.

I've known a few people who were allowed to take their red-stickered vehicles into Gorman off-season (thus, they paid for entry) only to be cited by a ranger inside of the park, even when they were not actually riding.


My advice... Keep it 100% legal, especially if you have guns with you.

ilbob
11-01-2009, 6:44 PM
1) When is it ok and NOT ok to politely refuse a search of vehicle and/or camper.
It is always acceptable to refuse to grant permission for a search. That does not mean the search won't happen without your permission.

2) Can someone clarify the "safety" check or "loaded" check if I tell them I have a weapon
Its a CA thing that is of dubious constitutionality, but is the law in CA for the time being.

3) What constitutes "probable cause" I was under the impression that PC could be not signalling or a taillight out or something minor, then your "refusal" rights go out the window?
Police can stop you for speeding but absent some thing else cannot legally search your vehicle.

4) What about BLM rangers in my campsite demanding to see the inside of my camper?They have to have a good reason to do so. They generally cannot search your vehicle, or you, without a good reason.

In the real world, the rights protected by the constitution are not really all that well protected. The courts have ruled time and again that even the tiniest thing is generally considered an acceptable reason to search or detain someone. And the thing is that you are at a severe disadvantage in this "game". Cops spend a lot of time learning how to get around the rights recognized in the constitution. You sort of assume that the plain and clear language of the constitution means what it says. As a practical matter, it really doesn't. It means whatever the courts say it means. And depsite police protests to the contrary, for the most part, the courts have ruled that the limit to police power is way over the line most people think it is.

Cokebottle
11-01-2009, 7:37 PM
It is always acceptable to refuse to grant permission for a search. That does not mean the search won't happen without your permission.
And be sure to say "I do not consent to this search" each time the officer moves to a new "target", IE, from the truck to the camper, etc...
Police can stop you for speeding but absent some thing else cannot legally search your vehicle.
As long as you keep the doors locked and the window down only far enough to speak and pass documents.
If the officer asks you to step out of the car and you leave the door open or possibly even unlocked, it becomes fair game.
In the real world, the rights protected by the constitution are not really all that well protected. The courts have ruled time and again that even the tiniest thing is generally considered an acceptable reason to search or detain someone. And the thing is that you are at a severe disadvantage in this "game". Cops spend a lot of time learning how to get around the rights recognized in the constitution. You sort of assume that the plain and clear language of the constitution means what it says. As a practical matter, it really doesn't. It means whatever the courts say it means. And depsite police protests to the contrary, for the most part, the courts have ruled that the limit to police power is way over the line most people think it is.
Agreed.

IF the officer finds something illegal, whether the search is legally conducted or not, you can expect to be arrested, which means vehicle/weapons impound, a trip to jail, bail costs, legal fees, etc....

Unless you have financial backing and a month or two of vacation time, it is not wise to push the limits and become a test case... especially if you are in violation of the law.

SVT-40
11-01-2009, 8:46 PM
#1) It's okay to refuse at anytime.

#2) If you have a firearm in a place where you can not have a loaded firearm, LEOs can check to see if it's unloaded. [PC 12031(e)]

#3) "probable cause signifies a reasonable ground of suspicion supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a cautious man's belief that the person accused is guilty of the offense with which he is charged; or the existence of such facts and circumstances which could lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and that the items, articles or objects sought in connection with said offense or subject to seizure and destruction by law is in the place to be searched."

#4) Search warrant.



Penal Code 12031
(a)(1) A person is guilty of carrying a loaded firearm when he or she carries a loaded firearm on his or her person or in a vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an incorporated city or in any public place or on any public street in a prohibited area of unincorporated territory.
(e) In order to determine whether or not a firearm is loaded for the purpose of enforcing this section, peace officers are authorized to examine any firearm carried by anyone on his or her person or in a vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an incorporated city or prohibited area of an unincorporated territory. Refusal to allow a peace officer to inspect a firearm pursuant to this section constitutes probable cause for arrest for violation of this section

There is an error in statement #3 about probable cause. You state "a cautious man's belief" and later "Reasonably discreet and prudent man".

The standard is actually a "REASONABLE OFFICER" in both cases. Since officers have training and experience which is different from the common man. He has additional leeway when deciding what is "reasonable" when acting in regards to search and seizure.

You also forgot the main reason LEO's can search vehicles and other places..... items left in plain sight. Once one illegal item has been seen it gives LEO's the ability to search for additional illegal items. Smells are another thing. The odor of alcohol or marijuana or lab type smells can also be used as probable cause for additional searches.