While the nation is trying to figure out how to survive, we are still here to help with all of your legal needs. We have already implemented procedures to protect our staff as well as our clients. We are available by phone to help you as you struggle through what to do next with your legal concerns. We remain dedicated to providing you top notch service, our legal expertise, and the social distancing that is necessary at this time. Please check us out on Facebook for daily updates as to court closures throughout Southern California. Be well!

Orange County's DUI Queen®
Our DUI Blog Stay Current With DUI Related News

Can the Police Search My Car After a DUI Arrest?

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 unregistered firearm.

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 a warrant?

Searches That are ‘Incident’ to an Arrest

The police 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!