Typically, if police believe they might find evidence of a crime in your property, they need a court-issued warrant to conduct a search. Without that document, their actions might be deemed unconstitutional, and any evidence they collected might not be admissible during your trial. Generally, this protection extends to searches of both your home and your car.
However, an officer does not need a warrant to look through your vehicle if:
- They see something illegal in it
- They have probable cause to make an arrest
- They have reason to believe a crime has been or will be committed
- You willingly consent to the search
Are You Required to Give an Officer Permission to Search Your Vehicle?
If an officer asks if they could search your car, you do not have to give consent. You can invoke your Fourth Amendment right and politely decline. The cop cannot force you to comply with their request. If they use intimidation tactics to make you agree, the evidence could be thrown out of your case, weakening the prosecutor’s arguments against you.
Finding Unknown Items in the Vehicle
Some people believe that because they have nothing to hide, there is no harm in letting an officer look through their car. However, allowing a vehicle search could result in the cop finding evidence you didn’t know was there. For example, you might have given a friend a ride to work, and they accidentally dropped a baggie of a controlled substance under the passenger seat. If this happens, you could be charged with drug possession.
In some cases, police misconduct could turn up “evidence” that results in being taken into custody. For example, in July of 2019, a sheriff’s deputy was arrested and charged with fabricating evidence and false imprisonment. An investigation revealed that the officer kept bags of drugs in his trunk and planted them on drivers who consented to a search of their vehicles. He arrested the individuals and doctored body cam footage to make it appear as if his actions were legitimate.
As a result of the investigation, prosecutors had to drop charges in more than 100 cases, and a judge had to overturn 8 guilty convictions.
Contact Law Office of Armando J. Hernandez, P.A. for a Free Consultation
If you were arrested and charged with a crime, it is imperative to seek representation from a skilled lawyer. Our attorney has over 20 years of experience and knows the laws governing your freedoms. We will review your case and analyze the evidence to ensure police did not violate your constitutional rights. When you retain our services, we will fight relentlessly to work toward getting charges dropped or reduced.
To get started on your case, call us at (305) 400-0074 or contact us online.