For the average person without a legal background, it can be hard to understand
their rights when it comes to warrantless arrests, searches and seizures.
Often, a routine traffic stop will go downhill and the driver will be
arrested for driving on a suspended license, or they’ll be arrested
because they’re subject to an active warrant. Other times, the driver
will be pulled over for a traffic infraction, but they’ll end up
being arrested for
driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol.
Sometimes, a driver will be
arrested for DUI
then the police will search the driver’s vehicle. While the cops are
searching the vehicle, they’ll find drugs without a valid prescription,
an open container of alcohol, drug paraphernalia, illegal drugs, or an
Other times, the driver is on probation or parole and they’ll have
a weapon in their vehicle when they are a “prohibited possessor.”
In other words, a DUI arrest was followed by a warrantless search and
seizure and the suspect ended up facing additional criminal charges because
of what the police found in their vehicle. Is this legal? Can the cops
search a DUI suspect’s vehicle without their permission and without
Searches That are ‘Incident’ to an Arrest
can perform a warrantless search of a DUI suspect’s vehicle after a
lawful arrest. Under the law, an officer can search the area that is under
a suspect’s immediate control after the person has been placed under
arrest. This often includes a purse, a backpack, or the suspect’s
vehicle. In the course of searching the arrestee’s vehicle, the
police officer can take any property from the arrestee that may be: 1)
connected to a crime, or 2) required as evidence in the criminal investigation.
“Can the police search my vehicle hours after my DUI arrest?”
Law enforcement can conduct a search incident to an arrest hours after
the arrest itself. While six hours after the DUI arrest may be well-within
an acceptable timeframe, a search that’s done the following day
may be too remote to count as a search that’s incident to an arrest.
Facing DUI charges in Orange County, and additional charges because of
what turned up in a search of your vehicle? If so,
contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. for a
free case evaluation!