Can Police Do a Warrantless of My Car?
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.
The police can perform a warrantless search of a DUI suspect’s vehicle after a lawful arrest.
Situations in which police may not need a warrant to search a vehicle include:
- If the police pull you over in a legal stop and see items such as drugs without a valid prescription, an open container of alcohol, drug paraphernalia, illegal drugs, or an unregistered firearm.
- If the vehicle's occupant is being arrested, police can search the vehicle as a part of the arrest.
- If the police have probable cause to believe there is evidence of a crime in the vehicle
- If your vehicle has been impounded or towed
Any evidence obtained during a warrantless search can lead to additional charges, such as drug charges or illegal firearm charges.
Are There Limits to the Search of My Vehicle?
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 Do a Search Hours After My 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 for a free case evaluation!