I refused a search, but the police searched me anyway... Was it an illegal search? What should I do?

Unfortunately, police may sometimes search you even if you refuse consent. If they find anything illegal, you'll have to get a lawyer and fight it out in court, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the search will hold up.

If the officer convinces the judge that there was probable cause to search without your consent, then the evidence will be admissible in court. If your lawyer convinces the judge that there was no probable cause, then the evidence will be thrown out and the charges against you will be dropped. Every case is different so it's hard for us to tell you how good your chances are in any one particular case. Your attorney should be able to tell you what to expect.

If you're searched illegally and nothing is found, you should still consider taking legal action or at least filing a complaint. Local attorneys, as well as your local ACLU and NAACP chapters may be able to help you.