Per Grits for Breakfast
, the Texas Senate has passed a bill requiring officers to get written consent before searching a car during a traffic stop
. Chances for approval in the House are looking good as well. As I've posted here previously
, this is a great bill. I hope it will put an end to the testilying cops who know that all they have to do to justify an illegal search is say that the defendant consented. If it comes down to a "he said, she said" battle at a suppression hearing, the judge is going to believe the officer over the defendant, and the cop knows it. I also like the fact that the bill requires that the consent form inform the individual that they have the right to refuse consent, as most people do not know they have that right. Of course, if an officer has a strong enough belief that he will find contraband if he searches and the individual refuses consent, the officer can arrest the person for the traffic violation and search the car incident to arrest. I don't like that law either, but it doesn't look like it's changing. And most officers are not going to want to have to go through the hassle of arresting someone on a traffic citation just so they can search the vehicle unless they have good reason to believe they will find something worthwhile in the car.