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dukeman7595

Police Stops - Your Rights

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Hello, everyone. I was hoping someone can answer the following question. As stated before in other FMCA forums, this will be are first trip in an RV.

It has come to my attention that some folks have had trouble with the police (traffic related) on regular traffic stops. It was told that in some cases the police have asked to search the RV for really no good reason. The folks who allowed them to search were less then happy with the results, their personal things were thrown about with little regard.. I am quite sure these are isolated incidents as most RV'ers are law abiding and have nothing to hide, however, I would like some views on this subject.

If stopped what are your rights? If asked by the officer to allow them to search your RV, do you let them or decline? With all the new laws since 9/11, I don't have a clue what the proper procedure is.

By the way, I found this information on the Internet and, frankly, it scared my wife half to death the way the officers conducted themselves, it was a true horror story watching the things they did to people. One video showed the motorhome after the search, with clothing and other belongings thrown on the street the and elderly gentleman handcuffed while the search was conducted with his wife crying while looking on. After they were done they let the people go on their way without a word. The couple filed a complaint, which is still pending, I believe. I forgot to mention the couple did consent to the search, but CUFFING this man ... wow, sick.

Anyway, with that said, we are decent law-abiding people with nothing to hide but do not want to go through anything such as that. I am sure these incidents are not common, but thought they should be mentioned. If any SEASONED RVers have any ADVICE on the way one should react while traveling in their RV, it would be most welcome. Sincerely, JOE

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Joe,

Wow. we have 150,000+ miles in the U.S., Canada and Mexico and have never been stopped nor talked with any RV'er who had been hassled by the police-- the exception being a single friend who was stopped in Mexico for driving in the wrong/fast lane on a busy ring road around Guadalajara (and he WAS).

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I'll second Brett's statement. We are near the 150,000 mark in the US and Canada. We've had US Customs come on board several times when returning to the US from Canada, with our consent. Our experience is they just want to take a look around and ask a few questions. We've never had a problem with customs or any state or local police. We've never even been stopped in our motor home by the police. I pay particular attention to speed limits as I am almost always an out of town and out of state visitor.

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The scenario you describe is so strange and bizarre that I would almost guarantee that it would never happen to you. If you were to be stopped by the police, just answer as straightforward as possible, and be as cooperative as possible.

If they ask permission to search your vehicle, say "Yes, but I would like for my wife to video tape it." If they were to begin tearing things up (Which, in this age is HIGHLY unlikely) you can rescind your permission and ask for a lawyer. They probably have their own video tape running in the car.

At NO TIME should you become argumentative or combative. Just keep the video camera rolling.

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By my way of thinking, the cops will not pull you over without just cause, unless it's at the border.

If you become combative at any age they can do whatever.

I feel your moterhome is like your stick home, by rule the cops cannot just drive down the street and randomly stop at a house , and search it-without just cause.

They must by law get your premission before hand and state to you a valid reason they picked you. Otherwise they need a warrent.

Wouldn't your moterhome be governed by the same rules??

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Guest Wayne77590

To the best of my knowledge they can only enter your vehicle, or search your vehicle, under two conditions. One, you let them, or two, they get a search warrant.

Now, if you refuse and they want to get a search warrant, it is my understanding that they can detain you right there on the spot until a search warrant is produced. I also believe that they have to have a specific cause that will be indicated on the search warrant. Hopefully some lawyer will come along and post disputing and making right what I'm saying.

So the bottom line is, yes they can search, but they need a specific reason, your permission, or a search warrant. Expect to be delayed.

I'm a newbie with only 30,000+ miles, and I have never been stopped (in the MH), and I have never been asked to board at the custom stops in Canada.

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The scenario you describe is so strange and bizarre that I would almost guarantee that it would never happen to you. If you were to be stopped by the police, just answer as straightforward as possible, and be as cooperative as possible.

If they ask permission to search your vehicle, say "Yes, but I would like for my wife to video tape it." If they were to begin tearing things up (Which, in this age is HIGHLY unlikely) you can rescind your permission and ask for a lawyer. They probably have their own video tape running in the car.

At NO TIME should you become argumentative or combative. Just keep the video camera rolling.

Well, I'm not a lawyer, but about 5 years ago I had a friend who was one. He told me that you should never, never give permission to law enforcement to search your vehicle. If they find something a previous passenger left behind, you (the driver) are responsible for it being there (even if you didn't know it was there). If the police have reasonable cause to search, they will be able to obtain a warrant. If they don't, they don't need to search anyway.

In the case above about crossing the border, I think I would give permission. In fact I am not sure you would really have a choice other than to turn back and not cross the border.

Anyway, just a thought I wanted to share. I had always assumed I would give permission until I heard this. I assume my friend's advice would apply to motorhomes as well as passenger trucks or autos.

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The police must have reasonable suspicion to stop you. That means they reasonably think you have violated the law in some way. Too arrest you or cite you they must have probable cause to believe that you have violated the law.

The details of searching are far too complex to fully understand here. Police can search if you give them permission to do so or if they have a warrant. They may also search if they see something illegal. (ie...you are stopped for a traffic violation and the officer sees a hand grenade sitting between the seats. The officer could then justify a further search.) The police can search in an exigent circumstance. ie...they hear a woman screaming "STOP STABBING ME" from inside an rv. The officers would have the right to force entry into the rv.

The rules on an rv are sometimes the same as a stick built and sometimes not. Sometimes it is just a motor vehicle. Lawyers will argue those points till doomsday.

Crossing a border is a whole different animal. Federal Agents may search with no reason other than you are crossing the border. The courts have ruled that in crossing the border you give consent to the search. Again, lawyers may argue the point on and on...but...

Before believing some video posted on the 'net look deeper into it. Not to say that some things are one sided and lacking in detail...but...

If you think about it...how many times have YOU been stopped by the police and had anything more than a traffic citation issued? The world is full of "I heard about this from ...." incidents. I would doubt that many folks who frequent these forums have had more contact than that with cops.

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The police must have reasonable suspicion to stop you. That means they reasonably think you have violated the law in some way. Too arrest you or cite you they must have probable cause to believe that you have violated the law.

The details of searching are far too complex to fully understand here. Police can search if you give them permission to do so or if they have a warrant. They may also search if they see something illegal. (ie...you are stopped for a traffic violation and the officer sees a hand grenade sitting between the seats. The officer could then justify a further search.) The police can search in an exigent circumstance. ie...they hear a woman screaming "STOP STABBING ME" from inside an rv. The officers would have the right to force entry into the rv.

The rules on an rv are sometimes the same as a stick built and sometimes not. Sometimes it is just a motor vehicle. Lawyers will argue those points till doomsday.

Crossing a border is a whole different animal. Federal Agents may search with no reason other than you are crossing the border. The courts have ruled that in crossing the border you give consent to the search. Again, lawyers may argue the point on and on...but...

Before believing some video posted on the 'net look deeper into it. Not to say that some things are one sided and lacking in detail...but...

If you think about it...how many times have YOU been stopped by the police and had anything more than a traffic citation issued? The world is full of "I heard about this from ...." incidents. I would doubt that many folks who frequent these forums have had more contact than that with cops.

In WA state they can search your vehicle without any cause during a traffic stop. They say it's for the "safety of the LEO", and yes it did go to the State Supreme Court and was upheld.

Also, your RV is treated just like any other motor vehicle UNLESS you are in a campground and hooked up to utilities, then it's your home and requires a search warrant.

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"In WA state" Now there are two good reasons not to be in Wa.

#1 Rain ;)

#2 the above ruling

/

/

Ohio- they might ask you , if so say NO, tell they you feel it's your house and it's your right to say NO.

Then if they want , they have about 20 min. to get a dog there to go around your rig

and if the dog hits on it the they have just cause and can go ahead.If not you are on your way.I would tell them thank you and have a good night.

Is this going to happen? Odds are NO.

Been a police officer here for years. And I tell the DW if ask say NO!

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Was stopped twice once at Hoover dam(before the new bridge) by Customs had to open all bays another officer inspected the inside. Every vehicle was stopped and inspected. The other time was in New Mexico-that's in the USA for those in Atlanta who sold tickets to the Olympic Games in 1996- every vehicle was stopped going east. We were asked if we were alone and perhaps not carrying Mexican Nationals-the Border Patrol seemed satisfied with our answers and we continued on.

Gary

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