police vehicle searches en route to the playa

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_fool
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police vehicle searches en route to the playa

Post by _fool » Tue Aug 16, 2005 2:02 pm

hi folks,

i was wondering if anyone had the skinny on where the (semi-permanent) roadblocks are set up these days? just in case we had some minor contraband in the car, we'd rather not drive blithely into one that everyone knows about. i heard rumors in 2003 of one coming north from el paso, but that makes sense since the border patrol folks are deadly serious. also, i ran into one on the road to the hoover dam on the way to 2003's burn and narrowly escaped being searched (a car passed me about a mile before and was waved off for searching in front of me).

obviously we'll hide our loot but just skipping the scene entirely would make us far happier.

little help?

thanks in advance!

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Badger
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Post by Badger » Tue Aug 16, 2005 2:24 pm

I've never heard of a roadblock ever being put up anywhere along the route to the playa. I HAVE heard of a dick-nosed, asswipes from the Nevada Highway Patrol demanding to search a vehicle after it has been pulled over for allegedly speeding.

The past few years have had some very interesting points to consider (not quite instructions) on what to do if pulled over. Under NO circumstances should you give permission to a law enforcement person permission to search your car. Saying 'no' doesn't mean they can't BTW..

You might check to see if there are past issues of the Survival Guide online and read up on what is said about searches and other interactions with law enforcement.
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_fool
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Post by _fool » Tue Aug 16, 2005 2:43 pm

I didn't mean necessarily ones that were put up as a result of burning man, just that they happened to be on the way for various people. the one i remembered from 2003 was on US93 just east of the hoover dam (well, maybe 30 miles east).

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Post by blyslv » Tue Aug 16, 2005 3:04 pm

The Hoover Dam roadblock was supposedly for terrorists trying to lob a bomb off the side of the damm. The search was cursory, but the 4 young black men in front of us had to empty everyhting out of their car.

Never consent to a search, BUT never offer physical resistance.
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phil
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Post by phil » Tue Aug 16, 2005 3:22 pm

One of my friends was on the Jersey Turnpike years and years ago coming home to the Philly area from law school at UMass when he was pulled over for speeding. The trooper asked for permission to search his car, and being a snippy lawschoolstudent, he declined. So he sat there for several hours while the trooper radioed in and got a search warrant delivered to him roadside, then searched the car. My friend said it wasn't worth it.

~shrug~ Whether that would happen in Nevada or where ever, who can say? Not consenting doesn't mean they won't do it. Might mean you'll be there for a looooong time.

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Post by theCryptofishist » Tue Aug 16, 2005 3:43 pm

phil wrote:The trooper asked for permission to search his car, and being a snippy lawschoolstudent, he declined. So he sat there for several hours while the trooper radioed in and got a search warrant delivered to him roadside, then searched the car. My friend said it wasn't worth it.
Used to live near a somewhat simple quasi-libertarian who wouldn't register his car because it wasn't in the Constitution. He got pulled over and demanded to see a judge. He regisistered the car after that.
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Post by Chai Guy » Tue Aug 16, 2005 3:48 pm

While I've never had a vehicle searched at a road block I've had countless vehicles searched because I was pulled over for one alleged traffic violation or another. If a Law Enforcement officer wants to pull you over they will*.

Therefore the most prudent course of action is to always drive as if you are going to be pulled over. Follow all the rules of the road, and this needs repeating, if the speed limit on 447 says 15mph, slow it down to about 10 or 12 mph. The speed limits on 447 change quickly and seemingly without reason. What is a slow local road most times of the year turns into a super highway during the hunting/Burning Man season. Please be respectful of the local community and save yourself a ticket and being pulled over at the same time.




*In once case, while I was in the military and on base, I was pulled over by an MP, he said that my right rear tail light was out. I said "that's impossible, I just had a state safety inspection done today!" and I delivered the paper work to him. The MP looks at my paperwork and says "Oh yeah, I believe you, it was working for the first mile I was following you and then it went out." The bastard actually gave me a citation for a bulb that burned out while he was following me!

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Post by Lassen Forge » Tue Aug 16, 2005 3:58 pm

"5 under" is the safest alternative. And remember that vehicles with trailers are subject to the slower speed limit - even if it's a VW bug with a little 2 wheel dolly trailer.

If the sign says 55, go 45-50, and think of all the Kamikaze rabbits you'll confound (and the gas you'll save)!. If it says 25 go 20. And school zones in Nevada are 20, NOT 25 like California, and it's when kids are present, usually, NOT just during school hours. (Got a ticket once for 22 in a 20 because of a 12-ish year old within the zone on a Saturday...)

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phil
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Post by phil » Tue Aug 16, 2005 4:17 pm

Don't all those school districts on the way to the Burn make their entire annual budget out of speeding tickets we get? I figured it's our civic duty to speed.

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Tue Aug 16, 2005 4:20 pm

Oh dear, our first case of heat stroke and the event's not open yet...
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Post by Cabanasprings » Tue Aug 16, 2005 4:28 pm

If you go 45 in a 55 you will get pulled over for sure.

Policeman Bob to Policeman Jim -

Hey Jim look at that car full of dread heads going 10 mph under the speed limit.

Wow Bob they don't act they have something to hide.

No Jim they don't, they are just darn good citizens.

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Post by geekster » Tue Aug 16, 2005 6:30 pm

In once case, while I was in the military and on base, I was pulled over by an MP, he said that my right rear tail light was out. I said "that's impossible, I just had a state safety inspection done today!" and I delivered the paper work to him. The MP looks at my paperwork and says "Oh yeah, I believe you, it was working for the first mile I was following you and then it went out." The bastard actually gave me a citation for a bulb that burned out while he was following me!
MP once woke my brother-in-law up out of a dead sleep in his quarters at 3am. Just said "come with me". Got out to the parking lot, he says "this your car?" he says "yes, it is, what's the problem?" MP shines a light on the front seat and says "how do you explain THAT?". My brother-in-law says "I went to McDonalds before coming home, that's probably a french fry". MP says "Looks like a joint to me". It was a french fry.

Particularly late at night the cops are bored with little to do and are looking for something to justify their existance. Try not to give it to them. If they stop you, a few things to keep in mind. When they first approach a stopped motorist, they are on high alert for any sudden moves. Don't make any. Don't get out of the car unless asked to, don't reach for anything unless asked to until they have had a chance to scope out the inside of the car. If you are leaned over rummaging in the glove compartment as he is walking up to your car, he is going to get nervous. You might be looking for a gun for all he knows. Best thing to do is remove any sunglasses (they like to be able to see where you are looking), keep both hands on the wheel where they can see them. Let him approach the car and check out the passenger compartment. Not making any really fast sudden moves during this phase is probably smart. You might just frighten the damned cop and if you do, he is going to feel stupid and if feels you made him look stupid, me might just decide to fuck with you a little in return.

Don't give em any lip. In general, they have the ability to fuck your day a lot worse than you can fuck theirs (and they know this) and some of them just love to see a smartass get his comeuppance. Being a wiseass might just mean having your entire vehicle unpacked on the side of the road for you to repack yourself. Signing a ticket is not an admission of guilt, it is basically only a receipt saying that the cop had contact with you and is accusing you of some infraction and a court date is to be assigned. If you want to, you can still have your day in court, hell, the cop might not even show up if you decide you want to fight it and you could get off, but don't COUNT on it, particularly if he remembers you as being a smartass.

It's just common sense. Doing a couple of little things to keep the cop feeling safe and secure, being polite, and keeping your mouth shut will go a long way to getting you back on your way faster. If you try to make it a control issue or a pissing match, you are going to lose unless you can push the cops buttons enough to make him screw up and that is dangerous because someone could get hurt, probably you. It isn't worth it. If the cop is obviously in the wrong, POLITELY ask for a badge number and jurisdiction (county sherrif, town cop, state patrol?). Getting angry in such a circumstance is understandable, but remain in control of your emotions. Once you let yourself start doing things such as raising your voice, you are on your way to making a bad situation even worse.

If you really think you are being fucked with unfairly, you might try and ask to see if a supervisor can come out. Whoever is the senior guy on that shift or the commander of the shift. Cops have bosses too. But understand you risk pissing the guy in charge off at you too, so weigh your options carefully. Now if the person stopping you is a rookie who has gotten complaints in the past, he might not want the boss coming out so it all depends on the situation and your read of it. Mostly cops are just doing a job like everyone else, they just tend (in my experiance with them) to have this control freak streak that works well in that occupation. A last resort if you think you are really being railroaded is to simply call 911, report your location and what is going on and ask for another cop to come out and witness what is happening.

A stop gets them a little credit, it shows they were out doing their job and not sitting at the donut shop, but spending all damned night on a speeding ticket doesn't look good either. If you start costing them too much time, they might start digging deeper to make the time worthwhile. A drug bust IS worth spending several hours on.

Bottom line ... keep cop comfy, cool, and professional and get back on your way.
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Badger
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Post by Badger » Tue Aug 16, 2005 7:20 pm

So he sat there for several hours while the trooper radioed in and got a search warrant delivered to him roadside, then searched the car. My friend said it wasn't worth it.
Your friend's experience probably would have been equally as bad had he given permission to search. Consider that the state of Nevada already has an acute shortage of workers and that the event represents THE single most busiest time of the year and that traffic flow averages well above 700% during the week. The resources are taxed to the maximum. Having some dick swinging cop pull you over and effectively take him out of comission for a period of 1-3 hours is probably NOT something he's going to be inclined to deal with. If he does, consider (again) that your refusal to acquiesce to his/her demands to submit to a search is effectively taking the officer out of the loop for the better part of one quarter of their shift. Besides, if you give permission and you do have something on you your lawteyr has a significantly better chance of arguing the case if it's shown that you ened permission for a search. So I understand it.
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Post by Kinetic IV » Tue Aug 16, 2005 7:38 pm

5 under" is the safest alternative. And remember that vehicles with trailers are subject to the slower speed limit - even if it's a VW bug with a little 2 wheel dolly trailer.
Western States trailer laws....including speed limits and when trailer brakes are required.....
http://www.boatus.com/trailerclub/west_laws.asp
California might be progressive on many things but their trailer speed limits are asinine.
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Thank you for over 7 years of eplaya memories. I have asked Emily Sparkle to delete my account and I am gone. Goodbye and Goodluck to all of you! I will miss you!

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Post by Chai Guy » Tue Aug 16, 2005 10:26 pm

All good advice. I've only had one encounter with Nevada Law Enforcement in route or leaving the event, I had a flat tire once and was on the shoulder. A Washoe Co. Sheriff pulled over, let me use his Sat phone to call AAA and gave me a Who-What-Where-When and a BRC Map and some stickers. No shit.

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Post by Dustdevil » Wed Aug 17, 2005 12:04 am

The type of random automobile searches you are refering to were declared unconstitutional a year or so back. Missouri was notorius for them as was Nevada. They would post a sign that said something like "All traffic must stop three miles ahead for a drug search". One or two miles ahead would be an off-ramp. Get the picture? They would search any vehicle that took that off ramp. I took one of those off ramps north of St; Joseph, Missouri with a legal placarded load of 1.3G explosives. It just happened to be the exit I needed. I had nothing to hide and my manifest was in order, even with that I was detained for almost an hour. Because of the nature of my cargo I granted them permission to search. This was post 911.
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Post by Chai Guy » Wed Aug 17, 2005 1:23 am

"Sobriety Check Points" however are still legal, and are used as defacto road blocks.

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Post by karr » Wed Aug 17, 2005 10:04 pm

_fool wrote:I didn't mean necessarily ones that were put up as a result of burning man, just that they happened to be on the way for various people. the one i remembered from 2003 was on US93 just east of the hoover dam (well, maybe 30 miles east).
If anyone is passing through Hoover Dam...

The road blocks near Hoover Dam are permanent. They are looking for terrorists that could possibly bomb the dam. Since they are real troopers, I'm sure they look for other things or could pull you aside if they suspect anything. They are definately racial profiling so keep that in mind too.

I don't remember how close they are to the dam. 30 miles sounds about right but it could be less. I would call it "safe" once you've actually reached the Dam.
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Post by Sean_til_Dawn » Wed Aug 17, 2005 10:29 pm

In order to search your vehicle, a police officer needs one of the following situations to occur:

1) "Incident to arrest" You were already going to jail before he found your blotter.

2) "Officer Safety" Take my advice on this one. When pulled over, just stay still and leave both hands on top of the wheel. Pull out your stuff when he asks for it and can see your hands. This makes for a calm officer. Getting all your crap together looks bad from the rear window. Don't store your stash with your registration papers like an idiot. Generally, the officer can only search within reach of the driver under this exception.

3) "Emergency" You wreck your Mini Cooper and while saving your life, the cop sees the OZ in the back seat that fell out of the shoebox. Now you are handcuffed to a gurney in a hospital. Store your shrooms securely.

4) "Consent" If asked for consent, say no. If they ask for it, don't try the mind game of "If I say yes he will think I have nothing" act. He is asking for it because he knows you got shit but numbers 1,2, and 3 are not available to him. Just watch those CHP story TV shows. Dumbasses give consent all day long with coke in the trunk. Just what the cop wanted. DOH!!

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karr
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Post by karr » Wed Aug 17, 2005 10:30 pm

For anyone traveling on the 15 North (coming from Southern California)...or South (returning from BM)...

The stretch from Baker, CA to Las Vegas, NV is heavily patrolled by Nevada State Patrol as well as by aircraft. This is due to an extremely high number of accidents along this stretch. Even heavier concentration of NSP starting at Primm, NV to Las Vegas, NV.

The majority of people traveling this route speed in excess, combine this with tired drivers, heavy usage by semi-trucks. It makes for a dangerous drive through here.

That's why it's heavily patrolled and they WILL pull you over if they suspect you even driving 5 miles over the limit.

Depending on the troopers mood and how fast you were speeding, he may require that you go to court in Jean, NV. Not a fun process is you are not from the area...and I do know of people with out-of-state licenses that were required to appear in court.

So be careful down this patch of road and your whole way to BM. If you are transporting something in your car, be weary through here.
I am the girl you will talk to and ask questions to and end up more confused than when you started.

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Chai Guy
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Post by Chai Guy » Wed Aug 17, 2005 10:54 pm

In order to search your vehicle, a police officer needs one of the following situations to occur:
Your missing a couple here like:

5. "Probable Cause" - The officer smells marijuana, or is able to meet some other criteria listed here: http://faculty.ncwc.edu/toconnor/315/315lect06.htm

6. On Probation or Parole? (or someone in your car is?) Usually means the cops can search you without cause at any time.

7. The officer obtains a warrant from a judge.

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Thu Aug 18, 2005 7:58 am

Oh heck. let's not forget the former INS. Do they still have a check point in West TExas on I-10?
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RegRad
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Stump You

Post by RegRad » Thu Aug 18, 2005 8:10 am

Another thing to consider is.... When an officer asks to
search your car, they "word" it so as to try and stump you up......
Example: (Colorado)I once had an unmarked cop car stop me with to detectives in it. They stopped me because my car looks like a police car.(spotlight & pushbar on it) After we talked about my car and they checked me out they told me I was free to go.... Detective says, "Oh one more thing, would you mind if we search your car?"
Now this is the trick question.... If you answer with "Yes, or NO" you are basicly saying "yes, you can search" or "no, i don't mind if you search"
because the question is not straight forward, it can take a doubble meaning.
My answer to this question was "No, you may not search my car." and they let me go. Also, the detective told me I was free to go before he asked, and that probably stumped him up when I refused.
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Post by tola » Thu Aug 18, 2005 10:00 am

You know those large tubs of mayonnaise? take a spoon, scoop out, pop in, refill, add an artistic whirl to the top, close. Drive happy. Heh, heh...

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phil
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Re: Stump You

Post by phil » Thu Aug 18, 2005 10:03 am

RegRad wrote:>SNIP<
Detective says, "Oh one more thing, would you mind if we search your car?"
Now this is the trick question.... If you answer with "Yes, or NO" you are basicly saying "yes, you can search" or "no, i don't mind if you search"
because the question is not straight forward, it can take a doubble meaning.
My answer to this question was "No, you may not search my car." and they let me go. Also, the detective told me I was free to go before he asked, and that probably stumped him up when I refused.
This is a trick the jerks often pull, telling people they can go, then as the poor citizen walks away, asking for permission to search the car.

You handled it well, master.

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Post by ZaphodBurner » Thu Aug 18, 2005 12:08 pm

"Probable cause"

Friend of ours, who is a PhD student and TA at a nearby university, was pulled over near the Canadian border and searched with probable cause.

The probable cause, according to the officer, was the Altoids can on the dashboard.

Unfortunately, Officer Hardass hit the jackpot. DOH! Big ticket, some other small fine, had to take some diversion class or something like that.

A friend way-the-hell-in-the-know says those microwave turkey bags will fool even dogs. I had a dog search my Jeep at the border, which royally pisses me off not because he failed to find the (empty, but used) piece, but because I'm majorly allergic to dogs.

-c

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Post by blyslv » Thu Aug 18, 2005 12:32 pm

If pulled over by a cop, I've found it is a good idea to leave your hands on the top of the steering wheel so the cop can see them at all times. That way they know you aren't going to try something stupid, and it puts their mind at ease.
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Post by headquarters » Thu Aug 18, 2005 12:43 pm

i've also in the past when getting pulled over at night,

pop on the dome light,
turn the engine off
put your hands on the top of the steering wheel

don't have a joint behind your ear like i saw someone on COPS once, and be polite.

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RegRad
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Post by RegRad » Thu Aug 18, 2005 1:05 pm

Tola wrote:
"You know those large tubs of mayonnaise? take a spoon, scoop out, pop in, refill, add an artistic whirl to the top, close. Drive happy. Heh, heh..."

Tola,
This works for the dogs...... not for the cop that suspects you have "Something, Somewhere". But still a great suggestion none the less.
Nice Ass!! :oops:
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Dork
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Post by Dork » Mon Aug 22, 2005 3:34 pm

Just for fun...

I'll be headed up from San Francisco and will NOT have any illegal substances with me. Is there anything I can do to act as a decoy without actually breaking any laws? I wouldn't mind spending a couple of hours by the side of the road on my way up. Maybe apply a bunch of "legalize it" bumper stickers to my car? Any other ideas?

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