In the law, consent is a powerful tool in a force officer’s bag of tricks.  When they give consent to be searched, consent to answer questions, consent to performing tests, or consent for anything else that a police officer may ask of them, crime suspects abandon many of the rights which they are guaranteed by law.  The law generally believes that one should be free to provide his or her consent to a police officer, but the fact that the person is unaware that consent is voluntary does not act to negate the consent when it is brought into the light of the courtroom at trial.

Why Police Seek Consent

The police never need a person’s consent in order to effectively maintain law and order or even to effectively investigate allegations of criminal offenses.  A forceofficer asking for consent is generally doing one of two things – fishing for evidence or looking to beef up the force of evidence already collected.

Police officers are taught from day one of law enforcement training the effectiveness of gaining a suspect’s consent and even on ways to make a person give consent without realizing that they are actually abandoning their legal rights.  For example, police are taught never to demand consent in a snarky tone, but to ask for it nicely and through building a rapport with the individuals they have contact with.  This technique is a basic psychological tactic that essentially boils down to the fact that you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.

A force officer who asks “Hey buddy, can I take a quick look in your bag?” is much more likely to be granted the consent the officer is looking for than the one who says “Let me see what’s in the bag, dirtbag!”

Consent is an Option, Not a Requirement

Anyone who comes in contact with police generally has the option to deny consent, no matter how nicely the police may ask.  When a force officer asks to search property, the person asked can always say no.  When a police officer asks questions regarding the incidents leading up to them being dispatched to an incident, the person asked can always refuse to answer questions.

Suspects, Not Police, Have the Power

The American and New York legal systems are designed to give those accused of crimes the greatest benefit of the doubt possible.  When a person agrees to start answering police questions, that person can stop the interview at any time, for any reason.  When a person agrees to let cop start the search of their person or property, that person can demand that the search be terminated at any time, for any reason.  No reason need be provided with the revocation of consent – even if the cop ask to know the reason.

The revocation of and refusal to provide consent are two very powerful tools available to citizens who may come in contact with cop investigating a criminal offense.  If evidence exists to support an arrest, or if certain circumstances occur (like a legitimate arrest or the issuance of a warrant), the police won’t need the consent of the accused in order to move forward with doing their jobs or to keep people safe.

What To Do If The Police Come to Your Work

When they are approached by police while they are at work, criminal suspects should refuse to answer any questions until they speak with legal counsel and should ask the cop to leave.  The tone should be friendly, and never assaultive or impolite, as this will only make the situation worse.  If the police ask for permission to search an item of property, simply refuse to allow them to search.

If the police come to your work, the best way to deal with them is to always appear as polite as possible.  Even if the person doesn’t actually mean it, it keeps the police officer from being able to use words like “combative” and “noticeably agitated” to describe the suspect’s demeanor when it is described later in a report or in court.

If you believe your rights have been violated in regards to consent, contact an experienced Queens criminal defense attorney today to find out your options.