Guest opinion: Understanding your right to refuse can make all the difference

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  • THOMASD Washington, UT
    Aug. 13, 2018 1:55 p.m.

    UTAH Constitution
    Article I, Section 14. [Unreasonable searches forbidden -- Issuance of warrant.]
    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation, particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or thing to be seized."

    We possess the right to be left alone. The only time police can [justly] jeopardize our power to enjoy said right is IF we are in the process of committing an actual crime against another person beyond a reasonable doubt—more like, in an obvious fashion. This right is inalienable because we are sovereign, children of God and our state Constitution backs up that sentiment (legally).

  • Thomas Thompson Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 10, 2018 6:48 a.m.

    Prometheus Platypus, above, is of course correct -- you do not have allow any search of your car (other than what is already in plain sight), but if you refuse, as Prometheus Platypus also notes, you can also be vastly inconvenienced. Thus, for example, if a highway patrolman thinks he smells the scent of an illegal substance emanating from your car, he can detain you while a government attorney seeks a search warrant for your automobile. Even if that action is expedited, it can literally take hours. Once the search takes place, if illegal substances are found in your car, it can be impounded and, once that happens, if you want it back, you'll have to sue the government to get it. Thus, if you're one of those people who doesn't keep illegal substances in your car, it's the better part of discretion to allow the search.

  • Prometheus Platypus Orem, UT
    Aug. 9, 2018 7:55 a.m.

    Right now it's a huge inconvenience to refuse.

    The officer usually ups the ante, asking what do you have to hide, after which they threaten to impound your vehicle, or make you wait an hour or so why they get a drug dog to walk around your car, and the dog will alert that there is more reason to search.

    If the officer is upset with you enforcing your rights, maybe he'll claim any money you have was for illicit purposes and can legally take it, forfeiture laws don't require actual evidence or guilt.

    If enough people started refusing it could become inconvenient for law enforcement to continue to waste everyones time.