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  1. #1

    Default Did Officer Have Grounds to Search Vehicle and Frisk Passenger

    My question involves search and seizure law in the State of: Tennessee

    My boyfriend was driving from his friend's house after watching a movie. No alcohol or drugs were consumed whatsoever, nor did he have any drugs or alcohol in his vehicle. It was around midnight and he passed a police officer as he was going downhill and the police officer was going the opposite direction. The officer tells him that he clocked him going 48 in a 30 mph area, which was probably accurate.

    He begins asking my boyfriend questions on where he was going, where does he work, etc. and tells him that his eyes look red. Has he been smoking wacky weed or drinking? He tells him no, he has not. Would he consent to a breathalyzer? He says yes, he would consent. He then asks him to get out of the truck, put his hands on his head and proceeds to frisk him. I'm not sure if he asked to search the vehicle before or after he frisked him, I'm assuming before. He did give the officer permission to search. He had a pocket knife, which the officer took from his pocket. He searched his vehicle and of course found nothing, because there was nothing in his car. He did get a speeding ticket, which was understandable.

    Did the officer have grounds to ask him if he could search his vehicle and frisk him? Is it okay for a police officer to harass someone that is pulled over for a speeding ticket in this way? Was there probable cause? I feel that he made judgment because he was a young male. When my boyfriend asked if he should turn his truck off, the officer put down his vehicle by saying, if you think it will start back up. (Its probably a 98 model and runs well). He talked down to my boyfriend and was not professional.

    Does the fact that he gave permission to search the vehicle make it okay? Is speeding enough in itself for an officer to perform a search? I have been very upset about this and would appreciate any and all input. Also, can anyone point me in the direction of the specific laws/procedures on this in Tennessee? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    27,031

    Default Re: Did Officer Have Grounds to Search Vehicle and Frisk Passenger

    they can ask you if you will allow them to search at anytime without any true justification. He had the right to say no.


    Did the officer have grounds to ask him if he could search his vehicle and frisk him?
    he didn't need grounds for a consensual search.

    Is it okay for a police officer to harass someone that is pulled over for a speeding ticket in this way?
    Harass? it sounds like your BF simply allowed the cop to do whatever. I didn't read any harassment.

    Was there probable cause?
    for what? to pull him over; yes

    to search him?; probable not but since your BF allowed the search, no PC was needed.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
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    14,554

    Default Re: Did Officer Have Grounds to Search Vehicle and Frisk Passenger

    Quote Quoting Inquiring_person
    View Post
    The officer tells him that he clocked him going 48 in a 30 mph area, which was probably accurate.
    Okay, so the reason for the stop, the "reasonable suspicion" to justify the detention, was valid.

    He did give the officer permission to search.
    Sounds like consent to search to me.

    And, legally, the officer can ask most any question he wants of a person he is in contact with. The person does not usually have to answer those questions unless they pertain to identity.

    Did the officer have grounds to ask him if he could search his vehicle and frisk him?
    If John Q. Public could have asked him that question, the cop can. Yes, the officer can ASK for almost anything. Your boyfriend could have said, "No."

    Is it okay for a police officer to harass someone that is pulled over for a speeding ticket in this way? Was there probable cause?
    How is asking questions and searching someone "harassment?" Is it part of a pattern? Is this officer or others in his agency engaged in a pattern of behavior that could constitute some sort of unlawful harassment? I doubt this was "harassment" by any legal definition.

    And since your boyfriend gave consent, no "probable cause" or exigent circumstances were required to conduct the search.

    He talked down to my boyfriend and was not professional.
    Your boyfriend can make a complaint to the officer's employing agency should he choose to.

    Does the fact that he gave permission to search the vehicle make it okay?
    Yep.

    Is speeding enough in itself for an officer to perform a search?
    Without consent, no. WITH consent, sure.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  4. #4

    Default Re: Did Officer Have Grounds to Search Vehicle and Frisk Passenger

    Thank you for your replies.

    The best thing to do in this situation would have been to say no to a search? What would be the repercussions of saying no to a search? I would have thought it would have been worse to say no to the search, and would have done the same thing and consented. My eyes have been opened.

    Perhaps harass was not the word that I should have used in the original post. I just wonder how often this occurs during routine speeding stops that an officer requests to search a person and vehicle.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    3,837

    Default Re: Did Officer Have Grounds to Search Vehicle and Frisk Passenger

    Quote Quoting Inquiring_person
    View Post
    The best thing to do in this situation would have been to say no to a search? What would be the repercussions of saying no to a search? I would have thought it would have been worse to say no to the search, and would have done the same thing and consented. My eyes have been opened.
    There would have been no retaliation unless the cop was unethical or crooked, then they would detain you for no reason and make up a lie to support it. If the cop was decent, a NO is the end of the story.

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