Most people are aware that the police usually ask for permission before they conduct a warrantless search. What most people are not aware is that you, the citizen, have a right to refuse a search and request a warrant. Some people, when confronted by a person in authority, simply acquiesce. It doesn’t have to be so. The Arizona Supreme Court, in a resounding blow for individual rights and liberties, on April 26, 2016, decided State v. Valenzuela, 2016 WL 1637656 (Slip. Op. April 26, 2016), which holds that Arizona’s implied consent law – the law that penalizes one for refusing to take a blood test – does not overcome the citizen’s right to refuse the test and that consent is not deemed given “freely and voluntarily” if the subject of a search “merely acquiesces to a claim of law authority.” The Arizona court stated: “We hold that showing only that consent was given in response to this [implied consent admonition] fails to prove that an arrestee’s consent was freely and voluntarily given.”
It’s important that you know your rights when confronted by the police who may want to search your body, your house or your car simply by the force and will of the badge they wear. If you have been in this situation or find yourself in it in the future, remember that the lawyers at the Michael Denea Law Firm stand ready to fight for your individuals rights and liberties.
For more information, read the Arizona Supreme Court’s opinion here.