What happens when the police want to search your vehicle?

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

The red and blue lights in your rearview may lead to a whole host of legal troubles. One may center around what the police can and cannot do during that stop.

The police need a viable reason to stop your vehicle. Even with this, the police cannot infringe on your privacy. Take a look at the legal limitations that dictate how the police handle a traffic stop.

What did you do to warrant the stop?

An investigation begins with the stopping of your vehicle. However, the police must inform you why they stopped you. The police need to witness you break the law, or they need to have probable cause to believe you have. This latter reason may have to do with another crime they may think you have ties to.

What can the police do during the stop?

The police begin their investigation the minute they approach your vehicle. Part of a cop’s training has to do with observation. An officer will assess how you look, smell, speak and behave. The conclusions drawn will lead them to further their investigation or let you go.

Can the police search a vehicle?

While speaking to you, the officer does a cursory exam of your vehicle, looking for anything that appears illegal or lends to the belief that you committed a crime. If the police see something, you may have to exit the vehicle. The officer may ask for your consent to search the car, which you can withhold. Without permission, the police need to obtain a search warrant to investigate the contents inside your car.

Understanding your rights may help you get out of a sticky legal situation.


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