Illegal search and seizure?

This is a discussion on Illegal search and seizure? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hello all, I live in WA state, where concealed carry is legal with a "shall issue" permit, and open carry is "not illegal". My past ...

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Thread: Illegal search and seizure?

  1. #1
    Member Array Dieselnut's Avatar
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    Illegal search and seizure?

    Hello all,

    I live in WA state, where concealed carry is legal with a "shall issue" permit, and open carry is "not illegal". My past encounters with LEOs here have left a bad taste in my mouth, as the officers were rude and in at least one case, didn't know the law. As such, I often think about my various situations and my legal rights. A recent video I watched prompted a series of questions in my head, which I'd like your take on. So, here are two separate, but similar scenarios.

    1. I'm pulled over, for whatever reason, on my way to/from the gun range. The officer sees a rifle case (or cases) in my car as he approaches to talk to me. I'm asked if I have a gun on me, to which I answer that I do. At this point I expect to be asked for my license, registration AND carry permit, which I'll happily hand over. But... is the officer allowed to ask me for my carry gun (meaning, to hand it over to him) OR is he allowed to look inside my car at any of the other guns? Since I was pulled over, I'm not sure if I'm "suspect of committing a crime" or not, and where my rights begin and end.

    2. Similar situation, but I'm concealing at a grocery store. For whatever reason, someone sees that I have a gun on me, either because I print or because my shirt rides up while I'm bending over to put things in my cart. At some point, either in the store or outside (or maybe as I'm getting into my car), an officer stops me and says that someone called in "a guy with a gun". At that point, I haven't committed any crimes as far as I know. I'm obligated to present my concealed carry permit, but is that it? I'm assuming I'd also have to show a photo ID? Is the officer allowed to disarm me, or to search my car?

    In general, I go out of my way to be cooperative and to aid LEOs in any way I can. However, over the past few years, I've become more and more worried about my rights being trampled. The above scenarios are ones I can see myself easily involved in, so all of your thoughts/opinions are welcome. Let me know if I assumed or missed something obvious. Thanks!
    Don't ever underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array Phillep Harding's Avatar
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    In your place, I'd start here:

    USA Carry - Concealed Carry Forum.

    The period at the end might be necessary to make that a valid link.

    Then, I'd follow up by finding who is involved with the CCW courses, and what lawyers handle CCW cases, and ask them for advice.

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    Ex Member Array barstoolguru's Avatar
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    I agree with the above poster, for us to stand here and tell you what works IN our state might not work in you. The best thing to do is read what the laws are in your state. in all states an LEO has the right to disarm you for his safety and concealed means just that if you are bending over and your gun shows that is your bad and you need to make preparations so that doesn't happen; will it... there is always a chance

    To search your car most of the time they need a warrant or permission to do so but if they have probable cause like you smoking dope and they smell it they can search without a warrant
    Spirit51 likes this.

  5. #4
    Set
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    Sent you a message with a link to some valuable resources. :)

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    VIP Member Array 40Bob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barstoolguru View Post
    To search your car most of the time they need a warrant or permission to do so but if they have probable cause like you smoking dope and they smell it they can search without a warrant
    I know you said "most of the time", there are exceptions to the search warrant.

    Exceptions to the Warrant Requirement

  7. #6
    Member Array gobbly's Avatar
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    police generally have broad leeway when it comes to safety. If you are armed and they are interacting with you they typically will have the right to secure the firearm for the duration of the stop, at their discretion. This DOES NOT include searches, for instance, this wouldn't neccessarily give them the right to search the serial number of the firearm, or search areas that are not readily accessible to you (say a secured gun case). This is specifically limited to weapons which you have immediate access to. For instance if you are patted down in a 'terry' stop, and the police feel something they think might be used to carry narcotics, they would not necessarily have the right to further inspect the item unless they had already satisfied RAS/PC, or could articulate (ie: convince a judge) that the item could have been a weapon.

    Beyond that, I would suggest consulting with an attorney, as state laws and precedents vary quite a bit. Even the definition of a dangerous weapon will vary.

    When in doubt, I would suggest exercising your right to remain silent. Remember, if the police do something wrong, exercising your rights to the fullest will ensure your defense attorney has all the proper tools to defend you.

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    Ex Member Array apvbguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dieselnut View Post
    Hello all,

    I live in WA state, where concealed carry is legal with a "shall issue" permit, and open carry is "not illegal". My past encounters with LEOs here have left a bad taste in my mouth, as the officers were rude and in at least one case, didn't know the law. As such, I often think about my various situations and my legal rights. A recent video I watched prompted a series of questions in my head, which I'd like your take on. So, here are two separate, but similar scenarios.

    1. I'm pulled over, for whatever reason, on my way to/from the gun range. The officer sees a rifle case (or cases) in my car as he approaches to talk to me. I'm asked if I have a gun on me, to which I answer that I do. At this point I expect to be asked for my license, registration AND carry permit, which I'll happily hand over. But... is the officer allowed to ask me for my carry gun (meaning, to hand it over to him) OR is he allowed to look inside my car at any of the other guns? Since I was pulled over, I'm not sure if I'm "suspect of committing a crime" or not, and where my rights begin and end.

    2. Similar situation, but I'm concealing at a grocery store. For whatever reason, someone sees that I have a gun on me, either because I print or because my shirt rides up while I'm bending over to put things in my cart. At some point, either in the store or outside (or maybe as I'm getting into my car), an officer stops me and says that someone called in "a guy with a gun". At that point, I haven't committed any crimes as far as I know. I'm obligated to present my concealed carry permit, but is that it? I'm assuming I'd also have to show a photo ID? Is the officer allowed to disarm me, or to search my car?

    In general, I go out of my way to be cooperative and to aid LEOs in any way I can. However, over the past few years, I've become more and more worried about my rights being trampled. The above scenarios are ones I can see myself easily involved in, so all of your thoughts/opinions are welcome. Let me know if I assumed or missed something obvious. Thanks!
    both scenarios you offered gave the leo PC to ask if you are armed and to see your credentials.
    if you are asked by a leo if you are carrying it is in your best interest to be cooperative, in some states you are even required to inform the leo at the beginning of an official encounter with them.

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    New Member Array NCIC105's Avatar
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    I don't give legal advice and would recommend you speak with an attorney in your State.

    Don't take legal advice from a web forum!
    ANGLICO and jfnixon like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NCIC105 View Post
    I don't give legal advice and would recommend you speak with an attorney in your State.

    Don't take legal advice from a web forum!
    Ditto! Check out your local carry boards, members there may be able to refer you to an actual attorney that practices in that area of law. Of course, you will have to pay for the advice, but you get what you pay for.

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    Kindly explain to them that you are the director of your legal person because you have appointed so by the sole benefiary, and share-holder you. Since they are a trustee or public servant, unless you have broken common law (unless you don't consent to that, wouldn't sugges that :/ ) if they have no complaint about you, or as peace officers of the oath (ask them to prove their oath to you; display it) they have not witnessed you cause harm than be on your way. Or set up a fee schedule post notice to the "government" and take them to civil court and sue them for damages to your person (as in your business). Have fun makin money.


    Dean Clifford; google it.

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    Member Array azretired's Avatar
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    I agree with the others; talk to a local attorney. However, in #1 you are not clear what you mean by "look in your car". The rifles are in plain view, so yes he can look at them. Can he enter your car to look at them. Without more facts than you have given, No. In #2, you have stated that open carry is illegal and you must carry concealed. If someone saw you firearm, it was not concealed, so you probably violated the law. In some states you can lose your permit for that.

    Talk with a local criminal attorney.

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    When I lived in WA state (78-93), I OC'd often when in the field (never in urban situations) and never was asked by any LEO to produce anything. I won't profess to be a WA authority on guns laws, but I've managed to prove on several occasions here in FL that many LEOs do not know state laws on CC'ing.

    Do your homework and read up on WA law as it applied to OC and CC. If in doubt, ask someone who specializes in guns laws. Here in FL, the law on CC inadvertant exposure changed to make it clearly NOT a violation of law. Printing, likewise, is not a legal issue. A CWFL is not an accepted ID here in FL; one must carry proper identification along with your carry license.
    Retired USAF E-8. Avatar is OldVet from days long gone. Oh, to be young again.
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  14. #13
    Member Array Dieselnut's Avatar
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    I actually said that open carry in WA is "not illegal", meaning, there are no specific laws that make it legal, but there are no laws that make it illegal either. Thus, it's considered legal and practiced by many.

    But, in general, I wanted to thank you all for your answers. I wasn't looking for legal advice per se, but rather any obvious rights that I may not understand. For your reference, I was referring to this video: Detained for Open Carry, Portland, Maine 26MAY2012 - YouTube

    I'm not sure I agree with how the "suspect" conducted himself, and I believe he may have been baiting the cops, but it did make me think a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by azretired View Post
    I agree with the others; talk to a local attorney. However, in #1 you are not clear what you mean by "look in your car". The rifles are in plain view, so yes he can look at them. Can he enter your car to look at them. Without more facts than you have given, No. In #2, you have stated that open carry is illegal and you must carry concealed. If someone saw you firearm, it was not concealed, so you probably violated the law. In some states you can lose your permit for that.

    Talk with a local criminal attorney.
    Don't ever underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

  15. #14
    New Member Array Hook's Avatar
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    I suspect the LEO will carry out law enforcement as he understands it. It can be sorted out at the station, or in court. The side of the road, or in a retail store is not where I think it is good to try to resolve legal disputes.

    What is your legal authority that you do not have to hand the officer your firearm if he asks for it ?

    Can a LEO search you, or your car without probable cause ? I doubt it. Does seeing the gun case in your car, or the citizen complaint you have a gun create probable cause ?

    As others have noted it might be wise for to schedule an appointment with a local attorney to ask yourb questions concerning your specific jurisdiction.

  16. #15
    TJx
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    I asked a similar question on another thread. I think basically what you're asking is legally carrying probable cause to search your person or property beyond normal?
    I was traveling through OH from KY to MI recently and on the way there and back I saw a car on the side of the freeway being searched which to me was a little unusual and pure speculation on my part, it just looked like the highway patrol was being a little more aggressive than normal searching peoples cars during routine traffic stops.
    I had a couple of my legally owned handguns in the trunk that I planned on shooting when I was up there and going through the scenario in my mind if I was pulled over would being a legal CCW holder be enough to search my entire vehicle?
    If asked if I had any other guns in my car is it really any of their business if they are inaccessible by me during the traffic stop?
    I'm just not interested in being illegally searched and detained while they tear apart my car and run every serial number.
    I know the easy answer is to not get stopped. Well, speed limits change, you speed up to pass, etc. I probably get stopped an average of every 5 years, it happens.

    I did have a bad experience the summer of 2001 traveling on the freeway through North Carolina.
    The speed limit had just changed from 65 to 55 and I came up on a unmarked state trooper going 45 in the left lane a little fast so he pulled me over and one of the 1st things he asked was if I had bombs or explosives in my vehicle? I of course said no as I had left those at home (sarcasm noted).
    He then asked permission to search my car, my trunk was packed, it will only take a second, blah, blah, blah. He kept asking, I kept refusing. Then he said I would have to exit vehicle so he could have his drug sniffing dog go around the outside of car which in that process pissed me off because a few times it clawed at my car. BTW, I did not have any drugs in my car. I finally was allowed to go on my way but needless to say the officer was not happy I successfully refused his power tripping illegal search.
    It is generally good advice to not take legal advice on the internet but do your own research because my advice is if you are ever asked to be searched refuse because they do not have probable cause, if they did they would not be asking your permission.
    This isn't the nonsense that if you don't have anything to hide...it's about our rights to be secure in our person and property.
    Freedom Doc likes this.

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