The time to find out about your rights when it comes to lawful searches is probably best done beforehand, but it may still matter if you've been arrested. There are definite laws about so-called "warrant-less" searches and whether you've been personally impacted by one or not it pays to know all about them. Read on to learn more about your rights and how to behave if you get stopped by law enforcement.
There must a reason for both the stop and the search
You cannot be pulled over for the color of your skin, the type of car you are driving or because the law enforcement officer is bored; there has to be a good reason. The reason does not necessarily equate to suspicions of breaking the law, however, it can be for issues of safety and improper equipment. In most cases, the officer observes you breaking a traffic law.
When you are stopped you may also be subject to a search and again there must be grounds. Some grounds are obvious, such as drug paraphernalia or a weapon in clear view inside your car. Others can be more vague, such as the odor of marijuana or the fact that you are parked outside of a known drug dealer's home. When the officer observes something that arouses suspicions then the search is carried out under what is called probable cause. Probable cause is a substitute for obtaining a search warrant and is an issue that can be challenged in court.
Stay on the right side of the law and keep these tips in mind
If you are stopped by law enforcement your behavior can influence the way the event transpires. You can be polite and forthcoming without giving up your rights to a lawful search.
1. The law requires that provide your name, date of birth and Social Security number to law enforcement or a valid picture identification card such as a driver's license, passport or non-driver card. You absolutely should not feel the need to give any further information unless you want to.
2. You cannot be arrested just for refusing to allow a search, but if law enforcement is convinced that there are grounds for a search it may be carried out regardless of your objections. You will be on the record as objecting, however.
3. You can, and should, ask what grounds they have for carrying out a search.
4. If you do have weapons or anything unlawful in your possession or in your vehicle your best course of action is to let law enforcement know as soon as possible.
5. Never lie to law enforcement, but never guess or speculate about something you are not sure of.
6. You may or may not have been read your Miranda Rights, but you can invoke them at any time on your own.
If you have been the subject of an unlawful search that might have led to an arrest, speak to a criminal defense lawyer at once.
When you sell stock photography, there is always a risk that someone may use your image in a way that you didn't permit in the licensing agreement. When that happens, you need to protect your licensing rights. The best way to do that is to work with a copyright and licensing attorney. I've spent a lot of time researching fair use and licensing restrictions. I hope that the information here helps you to not only understand your rights as the creator but also to learn how to document and enforce those rights and seek legal resolutions when they are violated.