If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Miranda rights. That’s the whole you have the right to remain silent and anything you say can and will be used against you speech that an officer is supposed to recite when they’re arresting you. The point of a Miranda warning is to advise you of your rights and give you the opportunity to seek counsel.
What’s a Pirtle?
The State of Indiana has taken things a step further. Thanks to a case from 1975, Hoosiers are entitled to Pirtle rights. Whereas Miranda is concerned with statements you might make, Pirtle is all about searches of your property.
Pirtle says if you’re asked to give consent to a search while you’re in police custody, you’re entitled to the presence and advice of counsel before you agree. If the police don’t advise you of your Pirtle rights—that is, if they place you under arrest and ask to search your car without mentioning anything about legal representation—whatever is found in your car should be excluded at trial.
When Does Pirtle Apply?
If you’re in police custody and an officer wants to search your home or your vehicle, this is the classic Pirtle scenario. Do not consent to a search. Ask for an attorney. This is your right under Indiana law, and you shouldn’t waive it just to make law enforcement happy.
If there’s a dispute about advisement of rights, the burden is on the State to show that you were informed of Pirtle, waived the right to counsel, and did not do so for fear that you couldn’t afford a lawyer.
Make the Right Call
The Marc Lopez Law Firm deals with police searches and property rights on a daily basis. If you have any questions about Pirtle, give us a call at 317-632-3642 and remember—always plead the 5th!