In our last post we talked generally about what to do if the police try to search you. Also, we discussed how you should “take the fourth” at the Gathering of the Vibes and decline a search. Today, we will address certain situations you might find yourself in at the festival.
What to Do If Searched
If a police officer places you under arrest, they believe that you engaged in criminal activity. This means they have probable cause. They have the right to search your person without your consent. But, without your consent or another applicable exception to the rule against warrantless searches and seizures, an officer does not have that right. So, make sure to clearly state to the officer that you do not consent to a search. Remember that, upon entering the Vibes, security will search you. They will search your person, vehicle and possessions. Security can do this. If you refuse a search, they won’t let you into the festival.
What to Do If They Search Your Backpack
As I just mentioned, your possessions get searched by security when you arrive to the festival. If a police officer lawfully arrests you, they have the right to search your backpack and other possessions. Similarly, if you consent to such a search, the officer can legally conduct one. However, absent your consent or another relevant exception to the rule against warrantless searches and seizures, an officer cannot search your backpack. Clearly state to the officer that you do not consent to having your belongings searched. Don’t feel pressured into giving the police permission to search your backpack.
What if They Search the Tent
If a police officer places you under arrest because they have probable cause that you engaged in criminal activity, they have the right to search your property – including your tent – without your consent. But, absent your consent or another applicable exception to the rule against warrantless searches and seizures – such as exigent circumstances or that the evidence is in plain view – an officer does not have that right. Once again, clearly state to the officer that you do not consent to having your tent searched. You should also make sure to keep your tent flaps closed, because if an officer can plainly see into the tent and sees something suspicious or illegal, that then gives them the ability to investigate further. Take advantage of the fourth amendment and decline to allow your tent to get searched if asked.
What to Do If Cell Phone Gets Searched
In the very recent decision of Riley vs. California, the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures extends to cell phones. The court held that a police officer cannot search your cell phone without a warrant. If the police approach you, it would be wise to power down your telephone so that they cannot see if people send you text messages on your screen. Another wise option is to include a passlock on your phone. You have a reasonable expectation of privacy in your cell phone and its contents. Therefore, if you are at Vibes this weekend and an officer asks or attempts to search your cell phone, assert your right to privacy in your cell phone!
This weekend is sure to be filled with great music, a friendly crowd and unforgettable memories. If you find yourself in trouble this weekend at Gathering of the Vibes, an attorney can help.