Archive for Search and Seizure

Dec
31

Arizona Department of Public Safety to begin using consent forms for vehicle searchs

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Arizona DPS officer are going to be using a consent form which must be completed before searching a vehicle. The change in police was made after an advisory board of citizens appointed by the governor considered the matter and made its recommendations. According to news reports, the consent forms must also state the basis for the initial stop as well as the results of the search. These forms will be used to evaluate whether their officers are stopping and searching a disproportionate amount of minority motorists. From a criminal defense perspective, I believethese forms will be a double-edged sword. Certainly, if a consent form is signed, it will make it more difficultthe challenge the validity of a consensual search in court. Whenever consent is givenorally, the officer’s credibility and other factors always plays a role when asking the court to determine whether consent was actually given and if it was done voluntarily. On the other hand, if DPS has a policy requiring the use of the search form andthey do not obtain one for whatever reason, serious questions might be raised regarding why the officer departed from thier department’s policy.
Phoenix Drug Crimes Attorney Joshua S. Davidson strongly recommends that you politely but firmly refuse any request to search your vehicle. The fourth amendment to the United States Constitution protects all persons from unreasonable searches and the presumptionis that a search warrant is required. There are obviously many exceptions to the search warrant requirement however the burden in on the prosecution to establish the existence of the exception. Receivingconsent from the person searched is a well recognized way for the police to avoid the necessity of a search warrant. If the police disregard your denial of your request or threaten you with jail if you don’t allow them permission, it is okay to submit to their requests. Remember, the side of the road is no place to argue constitutionallaw with the police. You will lose 100% of the time. Just be sure to inform the officer that you are allowing the search only to avoid whatever they threatened you with or because you do not want to challenge them physically.
Contact a criminal defense attorney today at the Law Offices of Joshua S. Davidson if you or a loved one is facing criminal charges arising from a police search.

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