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Old 04-07-2015, 03:57 PM   #225
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I'm Canadian...my motorhome has been searched 4 times in the USA and at least 12 times in Mexico. Never been searched in Canada yet haha...
I am assuming you are referring to border crossings.
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Old 04-07-2015, 05:48 PM   #226
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Crossing into USA was at border crossings...Mexico was at military check points.
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Old 04-07-2015, 06:25 PM   #227
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Crossing into USA was at border crossings...Mexico was at military check points.
That makes sense, I am sure border crossings have a complete different set of rules. We had our coach search coming back into the US from Canada.
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Old 04-08-2015, 02:20 AM   #228
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I live in Podunk, AZ, the kind of place where I can stop and chat with the Police Chief at a community bbq. After reading all these posts, I asked him to have a officer come by my house with a drug dog to be sure there's nothing in our newly purchased 2010 WGO Vista. Turns out the PD has had a number of instances where a used vehicle buyer found interesting "stuff."

The cop and his dog just left after giving our coach a clean bill of health but he (the cop, not the dog) said more and more RVs are being used to smuggle contraband due to large CCC. Gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling... NOT!

My neighbor, a lawyer who used to be a cop, says most jurisdictions in AZ can now get a telephonic search warrant in 10 minutes. So, if you refuse to consent to a search, they can have a warrant in the time it takes you to use the bathroom.

For those who can'/don't read or comprehend, I'm not advocating submitting to random searches. I'm just saying it won't be much of a hassle for a cop to get a search warrant in AZ.
A search warrant is a Court Order that is not as easily obtainable as TV would have you believe. Essentially, it is an authorization from a magistrate to side step your 4th amendment right against unlawful search and seizure. Unlike, totalitarian regimes where law enforcement officials can jack you up at will, the officer must have direct and articulable facts that rise to a level of Probable Cause. While refusing to consent to a random RV search may upset the apple cart the officer is pushing, it hardly rises to that level.

I suspect your lawyer/used to be police officer neighbor may have imbibed a few too many spirits when he told you an officer could obtain Telephonic search warrant in 10 minutes. In my career, I’ve obtained a dozen or more and “failed” to obtain an equal amount due to my failure to dot “I’s” or cross “T’s”...an unforgiving requirement when dealing with violating constitutionally protected rights.

While procedures vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, a few things are pretty constant...Once an officer establishes what he/she believes to be incontrovertible evidence, a supervisor is generally called and the situation is discussed. The officer then prepares a Search Warrant Affidavit which is a written statement to a sitting or on-call judge. This document must identify objectively suspicious activities rather than an officer’s subjective beliefs or “gut” feelings. The affidavit also outlines the specific area to be searched and what the officer expects to find.

The officer then contacts the duty (sometimes sleeping) District Attorney who (if at night) will make a 3 way recorded phone call to the duty (and often sleeping) magistrate. You will then spell out your probable cause to the magistrate. The magistrate will either accept your affidavit as written or will have you change certain parts of it (often restricting some of the officer’s search parameters) The Magistrate will have you take an oath of truthfulness on the phone then authorize his signature on the warrant.
From my best recollection, the quickest I had been able to obtain a daytime search warrant was between 1 and 2 hours and it had taken me over 3 hours once at night.

On my department, if court was in session downtown, officers were required to walk the warrant through. Telephonics were pretty much reserved for nighttime/after court hours.

Here’s the bottom line. If an officer observes you conduct what he believes to be a hand to hand drug transaction in your motorhome at, say, 2 am. and the suspect tells the officer he just sold the driver narcotics, you can expect to be stopped. The officer will order you to open the door, which you must (if you feel he is over reaching, you can take it up with his supervisor or the department another time). He will then freeze the scene (to avoid evidence destruction) and if you don’t voluntarily confess and turn over the contraband, he will use the facts above and no doubt successfully obtain a search warrant...which could take hours, so make yourself comfortable...outside on the curb no doubt.

Hopefully, this clears it up for some of you.
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:59 AM   #229
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Originally Posted by Donut lover View Post
...A search warrant is a Court Order that is not as easily obtainable as TV would have you believe...

...I suspect your lawyer/used to be police officer neighbor may have imbibed a few too many spirits when he told you an officer could obtain Telephonic search warrant in 10 minutes... In my career, I’ve obtained a dozen or more and “failed” to obtain an equal amount due to my failure to dot “I’s” or cross “T’s”...

...Hopefully, this clears it up for some of you.
Thank you for your opinion. I don't believe I referenced any TV shows. If your failed requests for search warrants were based on the same level of your suspicion that my neighbor had imbibed too much, I don't doubt the issuing authority may have had reason to suspect your rationale.

My neighbor, whom I've only seen once with a drink in his hand, is a 60 year old practicing defense attorney. Before that, he was an interim judge and a prosecutor in the DA's office. During his law enforcement career, he's been a helicopter observer, an undercover drug/gang cop and a supervisor as well as starting out as a beat cop.

Since I know nothing about you except what you claim, if you don't mind, I'll place my faith and confidence in what my neighbor tells me. Thanks for the lecture.
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:38 AM   #230
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This has turned into a long running thread with many scenarios discussed and many opinions expressed. Real world situations are often somewhat different from hypotheticals.

My wife and I just returned from a 4500 mile trip to and from the Lower Rio Grande Valley. We stayed a few days on the border at Mission, TX. The campground we were in had a boat ramp on the river and the Border Patrol used the ramp and had an observation post setup there. We watched the officers going about their jobs and observed them to be young and extremely professional. When we left the LRGV, we drove up US281 through the permanent Border Patrol checkpoint just south of Falfurrias, TX.

As I pulled into the lane, I observed an officer and a drug dog on the left. As the office stepped up to my window the office with the drug dog walked down the length of my coach and toad.

The officer at the window said, " just the two of you aboard?" I answered "yes, just us, two little dogs and one little cat". The officer looked down toward the dog and handler and said, "drive safely and have a nice day". I replied, "Officer, thank you for your service". He came to attention and said "it's an honor sir". I released the brake & my experience was over.

I submit that most of these guys are sincere about the job they do and have no interest in any extra drama. I think they get plenty. I think your interaction with them is important. I took my sunglasses off and looked directly at him. I have absolutely no doubt that if the dog had alerted or one of the cameras or facial recognition systems had picked up something, we would have been searched. I also think in any of those circumstances, they would have had zero problem getting a warrant if I had insisted.

I had decided before arrival at the checkpoint that in that case, I would ask the officer to articulate his reason for the search and what he was looking for. If he did that satisfactorily then I would ask for a supervisor and allow the search.

Overall, I was extremely impressed by the level of professionalism displayed by these officers who do such an important job.




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Old 04-08-2015, 12:26 PM   #231
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Originally Posted by LeeOts View Post
Thank you for your opinion. I don't believe I referenced any TV shows. If your failed requests for search warrants were based on the same level of your suspicion that my neighbor had imbibed too much, I don't doubt the issuing authority may have had reason to suspect your rationale.

My neighbor, whom I've only seen once with a drink in his hand, is a 60 year old practicing defense attorney. Before that, he was an interim judge and a prosecutor in the DA's office. During his law enforcement career, he's been a helicopter observer, an undercover drug/gang cop and a supervisor as well as starting out as a beat cop.

Since I know nothing about you except what you claim, if you don't mind, I'll place my faith and confidence in what my neighbor tells me. Thanks for the lecture.
LeeOts...The imbibing comment was merely my attempt at a bit of humor. I apologize if it came off as if I was lecturing and striking a personal attack at your friend. The comment about the TV show...again, it wasn't aimed at your written piece. The fact is, the larger percentage of members on this forum, fortunately, have never been on the receiving end of a search warrant. For most, the extent of their search warrant knowledge probably comes from how it's depicted on TV.

My intent was and still is, to help ease the minds of those who have expressed their concerns about being stopped and suddenly facing the decision of, "do I allow an officer aboard my coach without a warrant" Especially if he threatens he could have one at my doorstep in 10 minutes.

Please understand, I could lay out all my experience and expertise as well, but that'll serve no purpose in helping the members of this forum...that's all I aim to do. My self deprecating comment about how many warrants I couldn't get issued speaks to the difficulty in obtaining one and at times my sloppiness in not dotting "I's" or crossing "T's" as I mentioned.

LeeOts, My attempt at a bit of humor led you to feel I was attacking your friend...for that I apologize. I sincerely hope others may have gotten something out of my post.
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Old 04-08-2015, 12:58 PM   #232
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Originally Posted by Donut lover View Post
LeeOts...The imbibing comment was merely my attempt at a bit of humor. I apologize if it came off as if I was lecturing and striking a personal attack at your friend. The comment about the TV show...again, it wasn't aimed at your written piece. The fact is, the larger percentage of members on this forum, fortunately, have never been on the receiving end of a search warrant. For most, the extent of their search warrant knowledge probably comes from how it's depicted on TV.

My intent was and still is, to help ease the minds of those who have expressed their concerns about being stopped and suddenly facing the decision of, "do I allow an officer aboard my coach without a warrant" Especially if he threatens he could have one at my doorstep in 10 minutes.

Please understand, I could lay out all my experience and expertise as well, but that'll serve no purpose in helping the members of this forum...that's all I aim to do. My self deprecating comment about how many warrants I couldn't get issued speaks to the difficulty in obtaining one and at times my sloppiness in not dotting "I's" or crossing "T's" as I mentioned.

LeeOts, My attempt at a bit of humor led you to feel I was attacking your friend...for that I apologize. I sincerely hope others may have gotten something out of my post.

That's the kind of attitude we need on IRV2! Thanks!
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Old 04-08-2015, 02:30 PM   #233
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...My attempt at a bit of humor led you to feel I was attacking your friend...for that I apologize. I sincerely hope others may have gotten something out of my post.
Your response is too polite and civil for an Internet forum. I was so looking forward to a bare knuckle, knock down, drag out bar brawl and flame war! If you choose to maintain this level of civility, I'll have no choice but to report you to the Powers That Be and have you banned for life!
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Old 04-08-2015, 02:43 PM   #234
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Now THATS what Im talkin bout! lol

HANDS UP DONT SHOOT! LOL
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Old 04-08-2015, 02:58 PM   #235
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Your response is too polite and civil for an Internet forum. I was so looking forward to a bare knuckle, knock down, drag out bar brawl and flame war! If you choose to maintain this level of civility, I'll have no choice but to report you to the Powers That Be and have you banned for life!
I'm always good for a "knock down, drag out bar brawl", but, the bare knuckle part?...nahhh, my arthritis will have something to say about that
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Old 04-08-2015, 04:07 PM   #236
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Originally Posted by Steve Ownby View Post
This has turned into a long running thread with many scenarios discussed and many opinions expressed. Real world situations are often somewhat different from hypotheticals.

My wife and I just returned from a 4500 mile trip to and from the Lower Rio Grande Valley. We stayed a few days on the border at Mission, TX. The campground we were in had a boat ramp on the river and the Border Patrol used the ramp and had an observation post setup there. We watched the officers going about their jobs and observed them to be young and extremely professional. When we left the LRGV, we drove up US281 through the permanent Border Patrol checkpoint just south of Falfurrias, TX.

As I pulled into the lane, I observed an officer and a drug dog on the left. As the office stepped up to my window the office with the drug dog walked down the length of my coach and toad.

The officer at the window said, " just the two of you aboard?" I answered "yes, just us, two little dogs and one little cat". The officer looked down toward the dog and handler and said, "drive safely and have a nice day". I replied, "Officer, thank you for your service". He came to attention and said "it's an honor sir". I released the brake & my experience was over.

I submit that most of these guys are sincere about the job they do and have no interest in any extra drama. I think they get plenty. I think your interaction with them is important. I took my sunglasses off and looked directly at him. I have absolutely no doubt that if the dog had alerted or one of the cameras or facial recognition systems had picked up something, we would have been searched. I also think in any of those circumstances, they would have had zero problem getting a warrant if I had insisted.

I had decided before arrival at the checkpoint that in that case, I would ask the officer to articulate his reason for the search and what he was looking for. If he did that satisfactorily then I would ask for a supervisor and allow the search.

Overall, I was extremely impressed by the level of professionalism displayed by these officers who do such an important job.




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while I don't advocate letting anyone search anything on a hunch or just fishing I had similar experience entering the US this year, after a long wait we finally reached the booth for the US Customs and Immigrations Border Crossing, The officer asked politely for the ownership for the four vehicles we had, coach, trailer, car and motorcycle inside trailer, once he established that they were all proper which took 2 minutes, he then asked to enter coach which I obliged, he wiped his feet, had a quick cursory look around, said hello to my daughter, and asked me to accompany him to the trailer and open it, I did as asked, he looked in the car and under it and left, with me back in the coach and he in his kiosk, he returned my paperwork, and insisted that we enjoy our vacation, we all wished him a Merry Xmas and thanked him for his professionalism and responded in kind. He treated me the way he wanted to be treated and it worked out well for us all.

Now, if this were anything other than a border crossing the outcome would have likely been different, I would not have consented to any searches unless the officer convinced me that he had grounds for doing so, other than a missing child situation or a national emergency, he's not searching my property absent a warrant, and I have nothing to hide.

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Old 04-08-2015, 08:06 PM   #237
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My wife and I crossed this summer in Caraway (Northern Montana) and came back from Banff through the same crossing. On the way into Canada they asked for no more than our passports through the window. Very nice friendly gal. On the way back into the US we ended up in line waiting for a hour or so. I believe the supervisor was on lunch as they did not have all of the gates open. It appeared he came back from lunch - walked out and organized the three lanes and had us pull up in the large truck lane. He told us it would be a minute or two because he wanted to push some cars through - but he took our passports with him. He returned in about ten minutes. He asked if he could step inside and we invited him in....he was disappointed we didn't have the coffee pot on. He asked my dearest wife to remove her sunglasses so he could see her face to match the passport - which she did....and he parted company. My biggest disappointment was we didn't have a hot cup of coffee for him - as he was a very decent person.
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Old 04-08-2015, 08:22 PM   #238
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