As young drivers my friends and I had consented to many, many searches of our cars. Mostly due to the fact that we did not learn about our rights in school and we were afraid of the police.
About 10 years later my friend Phil learned about his rights and related this story to me.
He liked to drive around on the highways here in Jersey for fun and one day on route 78 he was pulled over. While on the way to the window to get Phil’s documents, the officer observed Grateful Dead stickers in the back window. He took Phil’s paperwork and said that he pulled him over for speeding. Then he asked Phil to step out of the car.
Phil proceeded to get out and quickly shut the door behind him and hit the lock button on his remote. The officer asked him why he shut the door and locked it and Phil replied that it was just habit. The officer then asked to search the car to which Phil replied, “No I do not consent to any searches”.
The officer then asked him “what if I search your car anyway”. At this point Phil armed his car alarm and said, “If you do then I will phone the police and have you arrested for breaking and entering”. The officer turned beet red and shoved Phil’s papers back at him turned and left in a hurry.
To be honest, after all the times that he and I had given consent, when he stood up for his rights, it really empowered us through his recount of the events that had just happened.
He did remove the Grateful Dead sticker from his back window and noticed that he did not get pulled over very much after that.
Since I stopped dressing like a stereotype (burnout), I do not get pulled over any more so I have not yet had the opportunity to Flex My Rights, but I welcome the day when I might.