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Police interactions always have the potential to be highly stressful, especially if an officer attempts to search your home or your vehicle. You might feel like the circumstances do not warrant a search, but you likely feel powerless to do anything about it in the moment.

The fact is that you do have options for protecting your rights in the event of a wrongful police search. You can exercise these options by gaining a better understanding of when a search is illegal and what the law will do to safeguard your freedom.

When is a police search illegal?

The police have the right to search your property if they have a warrant or if you offer your consent. They can also justify their intent to search if there is reasonable cause to suspect that illegal substances are present, such as if you exhibit dangerous driving behaviors that could result from drugs or alcohol. Though the latter can be difficult to disprove, a search in the absence of these factors is wrongful.

What are the rights that can protect you?

Exercising your right to remain silent during police interactions is the first and most important layer of protection. Doing so ensures that you will not accidentally consent to a search or admit guilt to any crimes. If an officer does find evidence against you after a wrongful search, you can cite the exclusionary rule to claim that this evidence is not valid in court.

Wrongful police searches can turn up evidence of supposed crimes for which you are not lawfully accountable. Using the resources at your disposal to build a capable defense is the best way to protect your rights against such harmful charges.