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Does a Police Officer Need a Search Warrant to Search My Car on My Property?

car search warrant

When Can Police Do a Warrantless Car Search

In general, police are not allowed to search your vehicle without a valid search warrant. However, like any rule, there are always exceptions. Under some scenarios, law enforcement can go through your vehicle without your consent.

There are a few situations where a warrantless search is valid. If you consent to a search, police will have the authority to look through your vehicle. Police can also perform a search incident to arrest to look for items related to a crime. Furthermore, police have the legal right to search a towed vehicle to create an inventory. Aside from these exceptions, law enforcement officials do not have any cognizable right to search your automobile according to a Kansas City criminal defense attorney.

How to Communicate That You Don’t Consent

Police often employ trickery to get people to consent to searches. An officer is unlikely to use the word “search” when seeking consent. Instead, officers usually phrase it in a less casual way. They may ask if its OK to “look” in your vehicle, or to “check around.” Answering in the affirmative to either of these questions is enough to qualify as consent.

You have the legal right to deny consent to a search. The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Therefore, if the police do not have a warrant, it is perfectly OK to refuse the search. A Kansas City MO criminal lawyer advises that a verbal statement is best. However, this should be done in a clear, unmistakable manner. You cannot give law enforcement any reason to misinterpret your intent.

Can Police Search a Vehicle on Your Property?

A criminal defense attorney in KC MO advises that when the vehicle is not on a public road a warrant is required. A 2018 Supreme Court case, Collins v. Virginia, held that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in a vehicle located on their private property. Thus, police need to obtain a warrant before the vehicle can be searched. The automobile exception to the 4th Amendment will not apply. Therefore, if your car is parked in your driveway, or off the street near your home, the police need a warrant to search.

What if You Are Subjected to an Unlawful Search?

If police insist on performing a warrantless search without your consent, take appropriate action. Criminal defense attorneys in KC MO caution against arguing with any police officer. Doing so will only land you in more trouble. Instead, take the time to carefully document the incident. Present this information to a Kansas City criminal defense attorney, such asJohn A. Picerno..

A defense attorney can help determine if there is sufficient evidence of a 4th Amendment violation. A Kansas City MO criminal lawyer can file a motion to suppress to prevent the prosecutor from using illegally obtained evidence. Contact John A. Picerno. to find out how to vindicate your rights.