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Can my car be searched if I get pulled over?

car search

Can my car be searched if I get pulled over?

car searchMost people believe, with some justification, they are required to follow the directions of a police officer. While in certain circumstances this is true, a police officer cannot legally order you to surrender your rights. When it comes to traffic stops and other situations where an individual is confronted by a police officer in the context of a potential criminal investigation, it is important that those individuals take the advice of their KC MO DUI attorney and understand their rights and their justifications for asserting them. These rights are uniform throughout the United States.

What You Should Know
A criminal defense attorney in Missouri Kansas will tell you under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, the police have no authority to search you or your vehicle without two things. First, they need probable cause, which is to say they must be able to swear under oath they have reason to believe they would find evidence of a crime during their search. In fact, the officer must be able to describe what he or she believes they will find and where.

Second, a police officer must have a warrant issued by a judge.

There are a few narrow exceptions to these two requirements. For example, under Terry v. Ohio, an officer may conduct a very limited search if they have reasonable suspicion they will find a weapon or other potential threat to the officer or suspect’s safety. Another exception is the “plain sight” doctrine, which holds an officer does not need a warrant if finding evidence doesn’t require an actual search.

Traffic Stops
In the context of a roadside dispute over what may be searched and by whom, drivers and passengers both should be cognizant of a couple of facts. One, there are almost no circumstances under which a police officer can prosecute a search warrant application for a routine traffic stop. Officers have been known to threaten drivers with search dogs, claims of discovering the scent of illegal substances and so forth, but ultimately the product of a search requires a statement under oath either before or after the fact, and testimony as to the certainty of drug dogs or exotic scents in the absence of anything but asphalt and noise isn’t likely to persuade a jury or a judge.

If you feel you have been mistreated in a traffic stop or you think your vehicle or person were illegally searched, you should consult a qualified criminal defense attorney like John Anthony Picerno as soon as possible. Your rights and reputation are at stake.