Secret compartment laws?

Secret compartment laws?

This is a discussion on Secret compartment laws? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; On another thread this issue was brought up when someone stated that having a secret compartment can be grounds for a search. The thought that ...

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Thread: Secret compartment laws?

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    Secret compartment laws?

    On another thread this issue was brought up when someone stated that having a secret compartment can be grounds for a search.

    The thought that in my effort to hide my weapon from criminals I might be giving up my rights not to be searched. Does the fact that I have a locked case hidden in my vehicle cost me my rights?
    I did find the following case on the net.
    Hidden Compartment in Motor Vehicle Can Provide Probable Cause for Search - PoliceLink
    Because the evidence was highly probative of the existence of a secret compartment, and because it is difficult to imagine a licit purpose for a large hidden compartment in a vehicle the size of a Chevy van, these signs of a hidden compartment strongly suggest and perhaps even single-handedly establish probable cause to search behind the side panels in the rear of the van.
    Michael


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    Member Array BubbaDX's Avatar
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    If they find the hidden case, arent they are already searching your vehicle?

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    Distinguished Member Array Rexster's Avatar
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    Your rights stay the same, but anything that indicates the presence of contraband may contribute to probable cause for a search. If you are not hauling contraband, and the firearms are being legally carried, why be a test case? Show the LEO what is inside the compartment, and be done with it.

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    Distinguished Member Array mr.stuart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BubbaDX View Post
    If they find the hidden case, arent they are already searching your vehicle?
    Yep.
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    Senior Member Array sdprof's Avatar
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    If you're going to have a hidden stash of anything in the vehicle, make sure it's hidden.

    These girls didn't do a very good job of it.
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    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BubbaDX View Post
    If they find the hidden case, arent they are already searching your vehicle?
    Not necessarily. They may from outside the vehicle notice door panel that shows signs of being taken on and off frequently and assume rightly so that it is being used to hide things. (I used to do this when I was young to hide my wallet and car keys when swimming at the river.)

    Michael

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    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rexster View Post
    Your rights stay the same, but anything that indicates the presence of contraband may contribute to probable cause for a search. If you are not hauling contraband, and the firearms are being legally carried, why be a test case? Show the LEO what is inside the compartment, and be done with it.
    The old "if you have nothing to hide" argument?

    Michael

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    Distinguished Member Array Rexster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlr1m View Post
    The old "if you have nothing to hide" argument?

    Michael
    I do not recall participating in such an argument before, so I did not know it was was old, nor an argument. I was just thinking practicality. Do I really want to sit in the back of a police car for hours, while the officers get a warrant, then force entry into a hidden compartment? If the legal winds are blowing in the direction of a concealed compartment being considered legal PC for a search, unless I am a 4th Amendment crusader, I see no reason to argue the point at the side of the road, when my original intent and purpose was to keep my legally-possessed weapons and tools safe from auto burglars. (In most areas, burglary of vehicles is the leading UCR-reportable incident.)

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    Distinguished Member Array Rexster's Avatar
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    To be clear, I am saying what I would do. I am not trying to debate the 4th Amendment, nor telling anyone else what to do, least of all to incriminate themselves.

    FWIW, I wear a big-city PD badge for a living, but enough of my colleagues have been busted for drug offenses that I do not feel immune to being subjected to a search. I may well voice my objection to an unreasonable search, but yes, I will unlock my Tuffy Products lock-box, to get the thing over and done.

  10. #10
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    Well, if it's not something that can be found by a dog, but they see/find an hidden compartment...it wasn't really a hidden compartment then, was it? I'm just sayin'...

    When I had a Mini Cooper, the back of the tail light compartment (on the inside of the car) came off to expose the bulbs. The spot was big enough for a CoM safe, and you couldn't really see the compartment unless you knew it was there.
    I've had other vehicles with 'special' hiding places. They can be found/made.
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    Senior Member Array ICTsnub's Avatar
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    When I sold Fords, the KBI came out and asked if they could photograph some SUVs with rear A/C. Turns out folks were custom making new headliners to smuggle drugs.
    I'm not a lawyer or a LEO, just a pantload with a computer.

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    Distinguished Member Array ArkhmAsylm's Avatar
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    I do not consent to my vehicle, my possessions, nor my person being searched.

    Barring a RAS on the part of the LEO to do it anyway, or a warrant, I'm not giving that up.
    "Historical examination of the right to bear arms, from English antecedents to the drafting of the Second Amendment, bears proof that the right to bear arms has consistently been, and should still be, construed as an individual right." -- U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings, Re: U.S. vs Emerson (1999)

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    I'm in an area where people smuggle dope and lots of it,I go thru a Border Control checkpoint about 90 miles north of Mexico about once a month,I have never been pulled over for secondary inspection,must be all the brass and range gear in my vehicle
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
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    The girls consented to a limited search. The limited search led to observation of anomalies in the van. Had they not consented to the search, a warrant may have been obtained anyway, due to their suspiciously nervous behavior.

    As an aside:
    Back when I had my broken leg, sometime during the 2 year recovery, I read the book The Complete Walker 2nd or 3rd edition. It's a book about backpacking across the country, how to travel light(est) and so on... The author recommended 35mm film canisters as excellent, light containers for small things.

    In the edition I was reading, he also related a story of how his book got the drug charges reversed in a "reasonable suspicion" search of a vehicle.

    Here's the Cliff Notes version:

    Young man is pulled over for traffic violation.

    Citation writing officer notices 35mm film canister on passenger floor of car.

    LEO tells the traffic offender he sees a container typically used to carry marijuana on his floorboard, and he is going to search the vehicle using "reasonable cause".

    Young man takes The Complete Walker book to trial, shows the judge that 35mm film canisters can be used for many innocuous things other than drugs, and therefore seeing such a canister should not constitute reasonable cause for a search for illicit drugs.

    Judge agrees, throws out the drug charges, young man pays traffic fine, life goes on.

    Don't know the veracity of the story. But it kind of fits (and, is a good story anyway).

    I don't like the idea of warrant-less searches, I don't like no knock warrants, I don't like any violation of my rights to be secure in my person, house, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.

    I have nothing to hide.

    But

    I DON'T HAVE TO PROVE IT! And it is not incumbent upon me to do so.
    Hopyard, BkCo1 and 2wheelGnnr like this.
    Rats!
    It could be worse!
    I suppose

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    Quote Originally Posted by oakchas View Post
    I don't like the idea of warrant-less searches, I don't like no knock warrants, I don't like any violation of my rights to be secure in my person, house, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.

    I have nothing to hide.

    But

    I DON'T HAVE TO PROVE IT! And it is not incumbent upon me to do so.
    I'm right there with you.
    The reward for work well done is more work.

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