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Right to consult counsel prior to search consent


When interpreting the Indiana Constitution, Indiana courts have found greater protection from the government than provided by the 4th Amendment in the federal constitution. One such greater Indiana protection is the Pirtle advisement which requires that a person in police custody must be advised of the right to consult with counsel before being able to validly consent to a search.

In State v. Janes, three uniformed officers in separate police cars with flashing lights came to a traffic stop for a minor traffic violation on a rural highway at night. When one of the officers returned Janes’ license to him, the officer stood on the vehicle’s driver’s side while another officer stood on the passenger side. After giving Janes a verbal warning for the traffic infraction, the officer asked Janes incriminating questions before obtaining consent from Janes to search the vehicle.

While most traffic stops do not rise to the level of arrests or custodial interrogations, the Court of Appeals found that Janes was in police custody and a reasonable person would not feel free to refuse consent to search and leave the scene. Because Janes did not receive the required Pirtle advisement, the methamphetamine and paraphernalia found during the vehicle search was ordered to be suppressed.

With over 35 years of handling thousands of criminal cases, Steven Knecht is familiar with the possible defenses to operating while intoxicated offenses and other criminal charges. Few other attorney can match his trial experience and knowledge of criminal law and he can use that experience and knowledge to benefit you. If you find yourself having been arrested, you should immediately hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer that you can trust such as Steven Knecht to help you fight the State because you have a lot at stake on the outcome.

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