When Can the Police Search My Car?

It’s commonly mistaken that search warrants are needed for any and all car searches, but that is not the truth. The only thing police officers need in order to search your car is a reason and your consent. A search warrant is rarely needed in situations as these and if you do not give the officer consent to search your car, they will have to wait until a warrant is available to arrive to the scene. After giving consent for your car to be searched, anything that is found can be used in court so it would be wise to politely decline a search if you have only been stopped from a traffic violation.

Searching Your Car

If you have been pulled over for a traffic violation and the officer sees alcohol or drugs inside your vehicle, this evidence is considered to be “in plain view”. This evidence is enough to grant them the right to search those specific areas inside your car. Other areas such as the trunk are still illegal for them to search and if any evidence is found, it could be inadmissible in court.

Probable Cause

Officers are able to search your car if they are given probable cause. After being stopped by police, it’s best to invoke your right to remain silent. Any answers that are given can allow them to search your car because of probable cause. Additionally, any officer that feels like there may be weapons in your car can opt for a protective search of your car for their own safety. For this reason, you should not threaten the police officer.

Know Your Rights

It can make a difference if you know the rights you have while dealing with a car search. At times, there are illegal searches done but not recognized because drivers’ rights are not known to them. Working with a defense attorney, you might be able to get evidence dismissed at court from an illegal search of your car. For the best results, contact our office so we can help you.

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