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When Can The Police Search Your Car?


Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons / Drew Stephens from San Mateo, Calif.
Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons / Drew Stephens from San Mateo, Calif.


There’s nothing unlawful about a police officer trying to engage in a consensual conversation. Likewise, he or she does need your consent (or a search warrant) to search your property, person, vehicle, or home.

If you’re pulled over and the police suspect you’re carrying or transporting something illegal, they may be likely to ask if they can search your vehicle. Sometimes, they may even phrase the question in a way that you believe the only answer is yes.

It’s important to note that you have the right to say no. However, you need to do so assertively. Standing by quietly while they search your vehicle may come off like you’re giving consent, even if you’re not verbally making the cue.

If you deny the request for a police officer to search your vehicle, he or she would need probable cause and some reason of why they may have to search your vehicle at that specific moment. Without consent, a search warrant is needed.

If you feel you’ve had a police officer make an unlawful search of your property, where he or she did not get your consent or have a search warrant, seek out an experienced criminal defense lawyer to see about the evidence being suppressed.

Winter Street Law Group offers free consultations. If you feel like your rights have been violated, call 775-786-5800.


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