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Do You Have Time for A Couple More Questions?

We left our hapless driver last time about to get out of the police vehicle and is confronted with a question, "Do you have time for a couple more questions?" Frequently the driver is half out when this is asked. Not wanting to appear "uncooperative" most drivers will say "Yes" or "Okay". These are the first wrong answers. You have your license and insurance/registration in your hand. The purpose of the stop has been concluded and you are free to leave. Then say, "No I do not." And then leave. If you say, "Yes", then you have just agreed to make this a consensual situation, in other words, you are now volunteering to be there and talk to the officer. Any thing you say can and will be used against you. This is not general conversation, the officer is fishing for something he can claim gave him probable cause to search. Next will come the question about the items you may have in your car, SUV etc., and whether the officer can "take a quick look". Again the answer should be "NO". YOU should then terminate the conversation and leave.

Many of you may be thinking, if I have nothing in the car -- why not let him "take a quick look"? First because this is a search without probable cause and he is going to detain you for how ever long it takes him to really search your vehicle. If you have luggage it can be removed, if you have other items you may be seeing them set on the side of the road. Once you consent he may call for a drug dog to be brought to the scene and this alone may take 15-20 minutes to get there.

Others may be thinking, if I refuse it will look suspicious. That is also wrong headed. We have a Constitutional right not to be searched except on probable cause and that right is worthless if you do not exercise it.

Currently 29 states have some form of legalized marijuana law. Oklahoma does not. The fact that it is legal somewhere else does not prevent prosecution if it is possessed in Oklahoma. Depending on quantity, the charge could be possession with intent to distribute which cares a more harsh punishment than simple possession. This is just one example.

In the end, exercise your rights. Do not consent to a search, do not consent to any conversation beyond that necessary to conduct the traffic stop. Be polite, be pleasant but do not be fooled into thinking this is anything but business for the officer. The officer cannot legally detain you for the purpose of getting a dog to the scene after the traffic stop is finished, without some articulable probable cause, according to the Supreme Court. These are your rights -- USE THEM.