Burners have kicked off a timely discussion at the BurnTheMan Facebook group.
Here’s the ACLU Guide to your legal rights if pulled over by a police officer who wants to search your vehicle or your person.
4. No seatbelt.
5. Open container.
6. A passenger hanging out of the window while vehicle in motion.
7. Improper/dangerous load (items extending to far out the rear or the sides of the vehicle)
8. Failure to signal a lane change (on fucking gate road no less).
9. Following too close.
10. Speeding/reckless operation.
11. Littering (discarded cigarette butt or something falling off vehicle)
My spiel last year to each driver after checking tickets and searches were complete was basically this:
“The police presence is excessive and aggressive this year. Do not speed. Keep your seatbelts on. Keep your head, arms, hands, feet and bodies inside the vehicle at all times. Do not open and drink from anything that looks like an alcoholic beverage until you reach camp and park your vehicle. Keep the music turned down. Do not do anything else that could attract any attention from law enforcement. Stay safe and have a great burn.”
I helped at least 15/20 people ziptie license plates to the end of a back rack and rig a headlamp or other illuminating device on them.
And yes, there were vehicles we checked that were REEKING of pot smoke. I wished them good luck and to be EXTRA careful about not doing anything that might attract attention.
12. Last year I saw a lot of vehicles being pulled over (right inside the gate). Many of those where singled out because of tags. Some tags were out of date but a lot were obstructed by bike racks.
13. Your license plate and tags must be completely visible and fully lit
Please be aware, your rights will NOT be respected. If you are targeted, you WILL be searched. Regardless of where your license plate is hanging. Straight from the horses mouth. There is no way around this. Be ready. Be safe.
A police service dog (which you can recognize easily because they wear working dog vests) can be run on the exterior of the vehicle without consent, as long as the traffic stop typically doesn’t exceed 20min (some exceptions apply). If the dog “indicates” as interpreted by the handler, the police are allowed to search your vehicle even without your consent. However this search of your vehicle DOES NOT extent to body. Your person can only be patted down for weapons. Any search after that must be from consent or probable cause (like the smell of weed).
Also, if the vehicle is stopped for a traffic violation, and the passengers did not commit ANY crime (seatbelt/passenger hanging out of veh/open container),etc) THE PASSENGER IS NOT REQUIRED TO give personal information to the officer.
The officer CAN require all the occupants to exit the vehicle for ANY reason during the stop. If you are asked to exit, don’t argue just do it. However, make sure you shut the door behind you. This prevents the dog from entering the vehicle. If the officer opens the door to allow the dog to search the inside they have to explain why in court.
So my fellow burner tips are: don’t bring illegal drugs and if you do definitely don’t put them in passenger compartment of the vehicle or any personal gear that could link YOU to the illegal drugs. (Trailers, common storage bins, etc. are better options). this makes it harder for the officer to link the illegal drugs found to a specific occupant and raises your legal defense in court about true possession.