When you see the flashing lights of a police vehicle behind you, it’s easy to become nervous even if you don’t have anything illegal in the automobile. Knowing that there’s something in the car that’s not supposed to be there can make you even more nervous.
You might be wondering if the police officer who pulls the vehicle over can search it. The answer to this is typically yes, but there’s a chance that it might not be possible. There are a few instances in which the search is allowable. These include:
- The police are given consent to search the vehicle
- The search is related to an arrest that’s conducted
- The officer is trying to protect themselves from harm by searching for weapons
- There is probable cause to think that the vehicle contains evidence of a crime
There’s also the matter of towing and impounding the vehicle. If this occurs, the police can conduct a detailed search on it. This is often a more complete search as it will likely involve going through every inch of the vehicle, including any locked compartments. It’s important to note that the vehicle can’t be towed and impounded just because the officer wants to conduct a search. There has to be a valid reason for the impound.
If you’re facing criminal charges in a case that involved a vehicle search, discuss the circumstances surrounding that search with your attorney. There might be key points they can use that would render the evidence gathered in the search inadmissible. Even if it doesn’t produce that result, it could still be an important component in your defense.