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Thread: Vehicle searched in South Carolina

  1. #1
    Regular Member 77zach's Avatar
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    Vehicle searched in South Carolina

    I live in Florida and was driving back home after visiting my dad in Virginia. I have a Florida CCW, which is valid in SC. I was stopped on I-95 for speeding. I pull over and hand him my driver's license and CCW. I told him I put the weapon in the glovebox, and he ordered my out of the car. He goes back to his unmarked SUV, meanwhile two more cops show up. One of the latecomers starts trying to establish rapport with me, so we talk about my trip, etc. Then he asks if they can search my vehicle and I, of course, refuse. He shakes his head "no" to his buddy in the SUV and then says he's going to retrieve the pistol in the glovebox and make sure it's not stolen. I tell him there is no reason to retrieve the gun, and I don't give him permission. He ignores this and takes it back to the SUV. He comes out again and asks me if there is anything illegal in the car, I tell him everything is "lawful personal property". The tax feeding fat-ass who pulled me over retrieves a drug dog and walks around my vehicle several times. Fatty gives the dog a silent command and the dog jumps and puts his paws on the gas tank. They then go through everything, and all my personal belongings. I had another pistol (unloaded) in a suitcase in the backseat and an unloaded rifle in the trunk. They "make sure these aren't stolen" and take them back to the SUV. Of course, they find nothing illegal. Fatty comes back, tells me "he's going to give me a break" and not give me a speeding ticket (80 in a 70) or give me a hard time about the unloaded pistol in the suitcase. He said it had to be in the glovebox or trunk. I did not think that was correct, but did not argue. I was relieved they didn't plant anything in the vehicle. Just another day in the USSA.

    Questions:

    When they searched without my consent, and found nothing, even though the dog "alerted", what position does that put them in? I assume I can't take any action against them.

    Was the officer correct in saying that having an unloaded pistol in my suitcase was illegal, even with a permit? Even without a permit, you may carry a loaded pistol in the glovebox. I can't imagine that I can't have an unloaded gun in the backseat suitcase WITH a permit.

  2. #2
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    I believe he is correct about the suitcase. In SC with a permit you can have you gun on you concealed. Otherwise or without a permit it must be either in the glovebox, console or trunk. If you do not have a trunk it must in a case in in the luggage compartment which is defined as the area behind the rearmost seat, primarily for SUV's. The back seat of a car or SUV does not meat the requirements whether or not it is in a case or luggage.

    The permit only covers on or about your person and must be concealed.

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    Yes, the permit is immaterial in this case.

    18 USC 926A should cover interstate transportation.

    You failed to secure your vehicle on exiting. You failed to establish and maintain your right to silence. The search and seizure were probably unconstitutional. We have only the rights that we defend.

    Carry your weapons advisedly and with understanding. Acknowledge the request to stop for a traffic violation by turning on your flashers and interior lights. Proceed carefully to a safe and secure location - for your, and the officer's, safety. Secure your vehicle, roll-up the windows and lock all of the doors - for the officer's safety. Have your required driver's documents in hand when you exit your vehicle. Pocket your keys. Wait for the officer at the front of your car - for the officer's safety there are now two vehicles acting as barriers from oncoming traffic.

    The cop will be (acting) angry. He is trained to be on a testosterone/adrenalin jag as "being in control of the situation." You are not yet under his control. He is trying to make you surrender your rights. If your windows are not rolled up then you are giving him a free peek and sniff that he can claim as establishing suspicion. Make him violate your 4A Right to get your keys to unlock your car do not have them in your hand or visible..

    When he demands identification, clearly state your name and residence. When he demands documentation establishing your privilege to drive then separately hand him your DL, registration and insurance proof. Say loudly and clearly, "I do not consent to any search or seizure. I request an attorney. I invoke my right to silence." ****! Do not resist. Do not speak. You have done all that can be done, it's now up to his "professionalism". I-ANAL

    Yes. You can take action against their unconstitutional actions, but they have all of the evidence - their camera recordings, radio recordings and written reports. You must secure these immediately and consult an attorney.
    Last edited by Doug Huffman; 08-25-2010 at 07:06 AM.

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    Section 16-23-20 of South Carolina Code says:
    Unlawful Carrying of Handgun; exceptions.
    It is Unlawful for anyone to Carry about the Person any Handgun, whether Concealed or not, except as follows, unless otherwise specifically Prohibited by Law:
    ... (9) a Person in a Vehicle if the Handgun is:
    (a) Secured in a closed Glove Compartment, closed Console, closed Trunk, or in a closed Container secured by an integral fastener and transported in the Luggage Compartment of the Vehicle; however, this item is not Violated if the Glove Compartment, Console, or Trunk is opened in the presence of a Law Enforcement Officer for the sole purpose of retrieving a Driver's License, Registration, or Proof of Insurance; OR
    (b) Concealed on or about His Person, and He has a Valid Concealed Weapons Permit pursuant to the provisions of Article 4, Chapter 31, Title 23...;

    Respectfully, it looks as if Fatty, as you called Him, may have been Right after all. I doubt that your Luggage had a 'Integral Fastener'.

  5. #5
    Regular Member 77zach's Avatar
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    Thanks for your responses. If this happened to me locally, I might pursue it further. Being so far away, I'll leave it alone. The real problem, as I see it, is the immoral and unconstitutional drug laws. They can always claim probable cause by claiming the dog "alerted". Regarding the unloaded gun in the suitcase that he said was illegally carried, he put it right back in there when we were through!! Oh well.

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    As I said, 18 USC 926A

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Huffman View Post
    18 USC 926A should cover interstate transportation.
    It used to be called a "Yankee Trap" that's too much trouble to fight. We have only the rights that we defend.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Huffman View Post
    18 USC 926A should cover interstate transportation.

    You failed to secure your vehicle on exiting. You failed to establish and maintain your right to silence. The search and seizure were probably unconstitutional. We have only the rights that we defend.

    Carry your weapons advisedly and with understanding. Acknowledge the request to stop for a traffic violation by turning on your flashers and interior lights. Proceed carefully to a safe and secure location - for your, and the officer's, safety. Secure your vehicle, roll-up the windows and lock all of the doors - for the officer's safety. Have your required driver's documents in hand when you exit your vehicle. Pocket your keys. Wait for the officer at the front of your car - for the officer's safety there are now two vehicles acting as barriers from oncoming traffic.

    The cop will be (acting) angry. He is trained to be on a testosterone/adrenalin jag as "being in control of the situation." You are not yet under his control. He is trying to make you surrender your rights. If your windows are not rolled up then you are giving him a free peek and sniff that he can claim as establishing suspicion. Make him violate your 4A Right to get your keys to unlock your car do not have them in your hand or visible..

    When he demands identification, clearly state your name and residence. When he demands documentation establishing your privilege to drive then separately hand him your DL, registration and insurance proof. Say loudly and clearly, "I do not consent to any search or seizure. I request an attorney. I invoke my right to silence." ****! Do not resist. Do not speak. You have done all that can be done, it's now up to his "professionalism". I-ANAL

    Yes. You can take action against their unconstitutional actions, but they have all of the evidence - their camera recordings, radio recordings and written reports. You must secure these immediately and consult an attorney.

    926a Only covers cased and unloaded weapons which are not accessible from the passenger compartment of the vehicle when it is in motion. The gun in the glove box and the pistol in the suitcase on the back seat aren't protected under 926A. The rifle is only protected if it is in a case.

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    Just a thought, Yeh, I have them now and again. You stated that the dog "Alerted" thus the cause for the search. I believe that by the events as you described, that the "Alert" was instructed by the handler. I would suggest that you write a letter to the Chief of Police of that Department and the District Attorney of the "FALSE ALERT" that was used to conduct the search as nothing was found. This is a long term approach to results. The K9 officer is required to testify to the "Accuracy" of the "Alerts" in establishing "Probable Cause" in regards to searchs based on the K9's "Alerts". This would help develope a file of "Exculpatory Evidence" when the K9 handler testifies and maybe falsely in regards to his dogs "Accuracy". This would or should make the Dept. watch the use of the K9 in trumped up searches.

  9. #9
    Regular Member Fallschirmjäger's Avatar
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    Canines have an innate desire to please their pack leader; in our case their owner or handler.
    If you can train a canine to alert when detecting a certain odor, then I don't think it's too much of a stretch to suppose that you could train a canine to alert when it detects a certain movement or word.

    On the other hand, it's not beyond the realm of probability that a canine can train it's owner/handler to give it a 'reward' by exhibiting the alert signal so that it gets the treat while it's handler does the whole searchie-findie thing. (Been there, saw that.)

  10. #10
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    Question:

    Did the LEOs get a warrant After the K9 "alerted"? or did they just search your vehicle against your wishes without a warrant after the K9 alerted?

  11. #11
    Regular Member Delucas's Avatar
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    Say you traveling I-95, I'll guess it was Ridgeland town cops that pulled you over. Ridgeland is a sped trap. They love tourist. Easy money with their town ordinances. No license points but high dollar fines. And no one ever contests them cause they live too far away to bother w/ it.
    Last edited by Delucas; 09-06-2010 at 08:44 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by aadvark View Post
    Section 16-23-20 of South Carolina Code says:
    Unlawful Carrying of Handgun; exceptions.
    It is Unlawful for anyone to Carry about the Person any Handgun, whether Concealed or not, except as follows, unless otherwise specifically Prohibited by Law:
    ... (9) a Person in a Vehicle if the Handgun is:
    (a) Secured in a closed Glove Compartment, closed Console, closed Trunk, or in a closed Container secured by an integral fastener and transported in the Luggage Compartment of the Vehicle; however, this item is not Violated if the Glove Compartment, Console, or Trunk is opened in the presence of a Law Enforcement Officer for the sole purpose of retrieving a Driver's License, Registration, or Proof of Insurance; OR
    (b) Concealed on or about His Person, and He has a Valid Concealed Weapons Permit pursuant to the provisions of Article 4, Chapter 31, Title 23...;

    Respectfully, it looks as if Fatty, as you called Him, may have been Right after all. I doubt that your Luggage had a 'Integral Fastener'.
    no, the gun must be on or about the person for a violation to occur - a gun in the trunk is not on or about one's person until the trunk is opened by the citizxen, and the text above exempts the citizen from being near the gun in that instance.

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    unfortunately SC appears to be a "must inform" state if carrying gun on or about your person - see http://www.handgunlaw.us/states/southcarolina.pdf - anyone know if there is an actual penalty attached to this requirement or is it, like texas, merely precatory?

  14. #14
    Regular Member Delucas's Avatar
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    Yes and no. must inform if carrying concealed but not required if carrying a firearm in one of the defined locations in the vehicle, loaded or unloaded does not make any difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Delucas View Post
    Say you traveling I-95, I'll guess it was Ridgeland town cops that pulled you over. Ridgeland is a sped trap. They love tourist. Easy money with their town ordinances. No license points but high dollar fines. And no one ever contests them cause they live too far away to bother w/ it.
    Now they have an RV on the shoulder with a photoradar system to expedite their revenue generation process. This has pissed off a lot of people, me included. The legislature is working on the problem, since Ridgeland implemented this in spite of a statute that imperfectly prohibits it. I see an amended statute in the future, and the city of Ridgeland stuck with $400,000 in useless equipment.

  16. #16
    Regular Member Phoenix David's Avatar
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    And this all could have been avoided if you were not speeding.

    Not if your still pissed you can file a FOIA act for the dash cams and radio traffic and any reports that were written. Write a letter to the chief of police about the incident and in detail describe the incident with the K9 handler and wonder in writing how that would effect the use of the dog in other drug related cases and that you have CC'ed this letter to local defense attorneys and you would be available to testify in any future drug cases involving that dog what the handler did.
    Freedom is a bit like sex, when your getting it you take it for granted, when you're not you want it bad, other people get mad at you for having it and others want to take it away from you so only they have it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    no, the gun must be on or about the person for a violation to occur - a gun in the trunk is not on or about one's person until the trunk is opened by the citizxen, and the text above exempts the citizen from being near the gun in that instance.
    I had another pistol (unloaded) in a suitcase in the backseat
    The rifle in the trunk was perfectly legal however the one in the back seat was not even though it was in a suitcase which does have an integral fastener. If it was behind the rearmost seat of a SUV it would be legal. You may be able to successfully argue that one in the backseat in a suitcase is not on or about one's person but I would not want to try that in SC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLT View Post
    Not exactly true. If the unloaded gun is locked in an exterior compartment of the vehicle, there is no requirement for it to be in a case as well. And... the vehicle is not required to be in motion. Otherwise, 18USC926A would be completely meaningless, unless the cops found guns in the vehicle while it was in motion!
    I think you misunderstood me. You would need to stop the vehicle in order for a passenger to maneuver into a position that would allow access to the weapon.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLT View Post
    SNIP
    The cops let you go. They knew they were violating the law themselves or they would have given you a ticket for speeding and for the gun.
    Yeah, this sounds accurate. IMO, you probably would have still gotten the speeding ticket had they not violated the law-but the 10 over ticket just wasn't worth the risk that you would bring the search up in court.

  20. #20
    Regular Member paul@paul-fisher.com's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLT View Post
    The legallity of the handgun in the vehicle is pretty much a moot point as there was no lawful reason to conduct the search without a search warrant.
    Ding ding ding! We have a winner!

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