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When Can the Police Search My Vehicle?

April 26th, 2018 at 9:53 am

Illinois traffic offenses, Illinois traffic stops, police search, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, searches and seizuresThe Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution grants us the right be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Searches are scrutinized to make sure that an individual’s constitutional rights are not infringed upon.

There are numerous cases in which a person is pulled over for a seemingly routine traffic stop, but it results in the search of the individual’s car and a potential arrest if illegal behavior or substances are found. However, a police officer does not always have the right to search your vehicle at just any traffic spot.

Ultimately, if you have been stopped by the police and placed under arrest, it is in your best interests to contact an attorney immediately. To be sure, an experienced lawyer can examine the specifics of your case and begin mounting an aggressive defense.

Valid Police Search of Your Vehicle

There are various scenarios in which a police officer has the right to search your vehicle, as described below. This is not an exhaustive list of circumstances, but these are the most common instances that arise and result in a legal search of your vehicle.

  • Consent. If you consent to a search, the police are able to search your vehicle. After you give consent, any evidence that is found during the search will be admissible in future court proceedings.
  • Probable Cause.  In order for the police to search your vehicle during a traffic stop, the police need to have probable cause that there is some sort of criminal activity happening. For example, if the police smell marijuana, they are able to search the vehicle for the substance. Police are able to bring drug sniffing dogs to smell the area around your vehicle; however, they must not excessively prolong the traffic stop.
  • Incident to an Arrest. If you are arrested, the police generally have the right to search your vehicle. Indeed, you are already being arrested for a potentially valid reason, and the police may need to conduct further investigation. The police can search for weapons and any evidence that is incident to the arrest.
  • With a Search Warrant. Since traffic stops are spur-of-the-moment events, police likely will not have a warrant to search your vehicle. However, if you are under suspicion for a crime and a judge grants a search warrant for your vehicle, a police officer will be able to search your vehicle.

If there is not a legitimate reason to pull a vehicle over, then the results of that traffic stop are not valid.  Any evidence seized or found during an illegal search is inadmissible in court.

Let Us Help You Today

If you have been charged with any criminal offense, contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today. An experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at our office is equipped and ready to tackle your case and make sure you receive the justice you deserve.

Source:

http://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/educational-resources/about-educational-outreach/activity-resources/what-does-0

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