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Old January 13, 2012, 09:00 PM   #26
44 AMP
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There are several ways to spilt hairs over this kind of thing. In a way it comes down to something like what the defintion of "is" is. But since ultimately, if you go to court, it will be in a court in that state, so that state's defintion will be the one the court abides by.

One could, for example, consider a firearm just a tool, like an axe, and not a weapon until/unless used as such. SO, in your opinion, you don't have a weapon in your trunk, just a tool. And so, you would not be lying to the cop (in your opinion) if you answered "no" when asked if there were any weapons in the vehicle.

However, if the state law says a gun is a weapon (by defintion), and most of them do, your opinion of the proper use of the English language (even if you are an English prof) will get very little traction in court.

You aren't under oath during a traffic stop, so you are not required to tell the truth, although lying is more than a trifle rude....However, lying to the police during the course of an official investigation is a crime most place.

So, it comes down to, is a traffice stop, and questions asked at same an investigation? And if its not, then is lying to the police "hindering them in performance of official duties"? Which is something else you can get in trouble for.

If you give an answer like, "nice weather we're having..." then, the cop might consider your answer "evasive", and suspicious, which may give him probably cause to ask for a search warrant, depending on the judge.

One thing that particularly irks me is the phrasing being used by many police these days. They ask if they can search the vehicle, "for their own safety".

They are standing there with a gun, maybe a taser, and a stick, have training in self defense, radio back up, and have the force of the law behind them. And yet, they are fearful for their own safety, without any clear indications to the contrary?

When they can clearly see there is no one else in the car, what possible inanimate object in the car could pose a reasonable threat to them? And even at that, a search of the trunk or other closed compartment (which is clearly not accessible by me, who is standing outside the car, where they told to to stand) seems to me to be outside any risk to their "own safety".

Of course, I might fit the profile of a known dangerous individual, and so precautions are reasonable and prudent...but....to me, phrasing the request that way is not proper. ok, I'm drifting... enough for now
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Old January 15, 2012, 12:25 AM   #27
jgcoastie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 44 AMP
One thing that particularly irks me is the phrasing being used by many police these days. They ask if they can search the vehicle, "for their own safety".

They are standing there with a gun, maybe a taser, and a stick, have training in self defense, radio back up, and have the force of the law behind them. And yet, they are fearful for their own safety, without any clear indications to the contrary?

When they can clearly see there is no one else in the car, what possible inanimate object in the car could pose a reasonable threat to them? And even at that, a search of the trunk or other closed compartment (which is clearly not accessible by me, who is standing outside the car, where they told to to stand) seems to me to be outside any risk to their "own safety".
Bingo. Well said.
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Old January 15, 2012, 05:36 PM   #28
Aguila Blanca
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Another one they like is, "You don't mind if I search your vehicle, do you?"

You say, "No," meaning "I don't consent to a search" ... but because of the way they asked the question, you actually assented to the search by saying, "No."
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