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What happens if I consent to a search in Texas?

Dealing with a police encounter is stressful. However, you could easily exacerbate things and make them harder on yourself if you don't understand your rights as a resident of Texas. People often make mistakes due to misinformation or nervousness during encounters with law enforcement that can later have serious repercussions.

One such a mistake is thoughtlessly agreeing to a law enforcement search of your vehicle or home. Agreeing to let police conduct a search, even just a search of your phone, can result in them finding something you didn't expect, which quickly gives rise to legal complications.

Law enforcement can go over your vehicle with a fine-tooth comb

If you get pulled over by a cop who then asks to search your vehicle, you might think that agreeing will allow you to continue on your way quickly. Unfortunately, the police officer can take as long as they deem necessary to search your vehicle.

If they find anything that they consider suspicious, the consequence could be another search or even waiting for a K-9 unit to assist in the search process. Once you allow law enforcement to search your vehicle, they can continue doing so, even if you ask them to stop.

Once they find something that they believe indicates criminal activity or an intent to engage in criminal activity, they can search your vehicle intently and even detain you or charge you with a crime.

Once police enter your home, they can potentially cause many issues

Letting law enforcement into your home also gives them the right to search, especially if they see anything that they believe to be an indication of criminal activity. Anything from your prescription medication to common household items could make law enforcement suspicious.

Items you don't know are there could cause significant issues

Perhaps you feel confident submitting to a search because you know you don't engage in any illegal activities. However, anyone else in your family, as well as your broader social circle, could leave something in your home or your vehicle that could cause potential issues for you.

For example, if you give a co-worker a ride and something falls out of their pocket into your car seat, law enforcement may assume it is yours during a search. It is also possible for items that you consider innocuous or harmless to be evidence of a crime. A feather that you picked up assuming it was a turkey feather could be a hawk feather, which is criminal to possess in most circumstances.

Because there are so many potential crimes and no way to safeguard yourself against allegations of all of them, it is almost always better to err on the side of caution and assert your civil rights, which include the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

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Cactus Law Office, PLLC
Wilson Plaza - West
606 N. Carancahua Street
Suite 916
Corpus Christi, TX 78401

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Phone: 361-779-6036
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