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Do you have to let the police search your car?

On Behalf of | Oct 14, 2019 | Uncategorized |

Under the Fourth Amendment, people have a right to reasonable search and seizure. This prevents the police from getting into anyone’s home and searching for evidence of crimes. The police need a warrant to search a residence, but slightly different laws exist for searching vehicles. 

The cops do not necessarily need a warrant to search inside a car, but they do need a reasonable cause. There may not be time to obtain a warrant from a judge, but as long as the cops have probable cause to assume there is evidence of a crime inside a vehicle, then they can look inside. However, it is paramount for drivers to be aware of their rights and when they can deny a cop access to a vehicle. 

You can deny a request for a search

When the cops pull you over, they may ask you if they can look inside your car. You have a right to refuse this search. You just need to calmly assert that you do not give them the right to look inside. You should never physically resist a search, as the police can use this against you later. You need to verbally confirm that you do not consent to a search.

You should remain silent

You need to assert your right, but you do not have to give the police more evidence than they need. For example, if a cop asks you if you drank anything that evening, then you can state that you do not wish to answer the question. Saying you had something to drink may make the cops believe you drove drunk and broke the law. 

You should see if you are free to go

After answering all the cops’ questions, you should ask if you are free to go. The police may evade answering, but you need to remain persistent. The police cannot hold you if you are not under arrest. As soon as the police allow you to leave, safely drive off.


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