Knowing your rights during a Colorado traffic stop may go a long way at helping you avoid legal trouble. When a law enforcement official stops your vehicle and thinks something illegal may be taking place inside, he or she may ask to search your car. He or she may also use tricky language or tactics to increase the chances of you consenting to the search.
However, FlexYourRights.org reports that, unless certain circumstances exist, you have the right to refuse a search of your vehicle during a traffic stop.
What happens when authorities lack a warrant
Unless the law enforcement officer who stops you has a warrant or something called probable cause, you do not have to consent to him or her searching your car. Any number of different things might count as probable cause, but an officer’s suspicion alone is not enough. Instead, he or she needs to have some kind of evidence of illegal activity taking place to have probable cause to search your car.
When happens when authorities lack probable cause
If a law enforcement official does not have a warrant or probable cause, you have the right to refuse a search request. If you decide to exercise this right, tell the officer on the scene firmly and politely that you do not agree to have your vehicle searched.
Try to keep in mind that it often pays to stay cordial when interacting with authorities. By staying calm and making it clear that you are well aware of your rights, you may be able to diffuse an otherwise problematic situation.