H. Michael Steinberg has over 32 years experience practicing Colorado criminal law. Mr. Steinberg strives to stay current with the ever changing aspects of criminal law issues and updates resulting in his extensive knowledge of successful criminal defense as well as appellate work. He is also an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar Association, the Colorado Trial Lawyer's Association, and the Colorado and Arapahoe Bar Associations.
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2010 Changes to Colorado Criminal Law – Police Must Now Advise You of Your Right To Refuse a Search NOT Based on Probable Cause

A little known law that was quietly signed by the Governor of Colorado in 2010 requires some attention. Here is how it applies. In the past, if a police officer who has NO evidence that you have committed a crime, asks for your permission to conduct a search of your person or your car, he or she did NOT have to advise you that you have the right to refuse said search.

The new law requires the police officer to advise you that you have the right to refuse the search and he – she must obtain your oral or written consent to the search. Furthermore, this new law is critically important as it counters what I would term “the natural intimidation factor” when a police officer requests – based on no evidence – to search you or your car.

Here is a summary of the new law:

HB 1201: Concerning Duties Related to Peace Officer Contacts

Status: Passed the House (37-28) and Senate (35-0) and signed into law on April 29, 2010. It was made effective April 29, 2010
Description: This new law requires that prior to conducting a consensual search of a person, personal effects, or vehicle a peace officer must get either oral or written consent for the search after advising the person that they may refuse.

This new law does not apply to a valid search incident to a lawful arrest or to a search for which there is a legal basis which includes, but is not limited to, searches in correctional facilities, jails, community corrections facilities, mental health facilities or searches of a person on probation or parole by a probation or parole officer when such searches are a condition of supervision.