PLAYA REPORT - MY RUN IN WITH THE FEDERAL BLM TODAY:
After I entered Burning Man, just after the entry gate check point and before the Greeters Station, I was pulled over by a Bureau of Land Management officer. I asked him, "Hello, Officer. Why did you pull me over?" He replied, "Because you don't have a front license plate." I then produced the newly procured plate (the vehicle was just registered last week, and I hadn't installed the front plate after painting the bumper; however, the back plate was installed). While he was running my license and the plate, a second officer showed up. They were both very cordial.
Then a third officer showed up. #2 asked me to step out of the car. I asked why. He said, "We're going to have a search dog circle the car, and you don't want to be in the vehicle for that." Like a sheep, I got out of the vehicle, and stood by while the dog circled. Then #3 put the dog in my vehicle through the front door, and he then exited in the back door. #3 and #1 then went into my vehicle. I never consented. I never, however, said "I do not consent."
I was fearless, as there was nothing illegal on-board my vehicle. However, after talking with legal counsel this evening, this was apparently illegal search.
IF YOU'RE COMING TO BURNING MAN, HEAR THIS:
The BLM has new leadership this year. There are also far more officers on-site this year. As it was stated to me, they need to produce statistics in order to justify having so many officers on-site. In practice, this looks like them stopping anyone for any minor infraction. HAVE ALL YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW. Be sure all your lights are working, that your plates are on with correct registration tags, that you obey traffic laws, and that you have proof of insurance, registration, and a valid license.
If an officer attempts to search your belongings, state that you do not consent and ask, "AM I BEING DETAINED? AM I FREE TO GO?" REPEAT THIS AS MANY TIMES AS NECESSARY. ***They can not legally detain you while they wait for a search dog to arrive.*** If the dog indicates a scent, they then have probable cause to search you.
ALSO KNOW THIS:
There seems to be a lot of first time officers at Burning Man this year, and there seems to be some misinformation amongst them. Be prepared. Know your rights, and practice stating the above sentence in case you do get pulled over. I didn't resist. I was just stupefied, and didn't exercise my rights. Don't let that happen to you.
Matthew Breno It's called a "Custodial Arrest" v "Investigative detention". You might wish to tune that up a bit. The correct way to use those those questions is to make it an either/or scenario. "Am I being detained OR am I free to go?" You may also charge that the use of a dog violates your 6th amendment right to face/confront witness/accuser, which one cannot do to a dog. And probable cause gives them nothing other than the possibility of a search warrant, that you have a right to inspect. It must specifically describe the thing that they are searching for and the exact place to be searched. ie. ecstasy in the glove box... and it must be signed by a magistrate, with a wet-ink signature. When yu state these things, there is no guarantee you will not be dishonored. But what this does is it gives you very solid evidence (Testimony) for if you wind up in court, to show that they unlawfully acted upon you in multiple ways. That by knowing and exercising your rights, and communicating it to them preemptively, gives you a far better position to work from. There are so many more things I could go into, but too much content to cover. I'll offer what I can from time to time.
Matthew Breno Don't fall for "you are disobeying an officer's orders", or my favorite, "you are obstructing justice"... The exercise of a right cannot be converted into a crime, and where rights secured by the constitution are involved, there may be no rule making or legislation which would abbrogate them. Those are two of many case law citations blowing those lame ass tactics they use out of the air. Or, you can quote Brown v Texas if they have no probable cause to Identify you in the first place. (That's a personal favorite) And just remember "ANYTHING YOU SAY CAN AND WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU"... so use the 5th amendment properly... PLEASE!! And know when to shut-the-fuck-up.
Martin MacKerel http://lmgtfy.com/?q=probable+cause+and+vehicle+searches&l=1
Let me google that for you
For all those people who find it more convenient to bother you with their question rather than google it for themselves.
Jay Everett also if asked to exit your vehicle roll up all windows locl you car and remove your keys. s they may not illegally enter