Search and Seizure Law
If your car has been searched, call Ozols Law Firm to determine your legal rights.
We are available 24/7 to take your call and will aggressively defend you to achieve the best possible outcome.
Potential clients commonly ask their criminal defense attorney “were the police allowed to search my vehicle?” The answer requires knowing more about the case. In a general context one is protected by the fourth amendment against illegal search and seizure of all persons, property or things that they posses. This means that they cannot be searched without consent.
A search can be from an officer looking in one’s cell phone to searching they pockets to entering their house or car. A search can even be seen as an officer flying over potential crime scene and using a device to take pictures, where the device being used is too expensive for the general public to purchase.
Illegal searches most commonly happen in a vehicle where the officers pull someone over (sometimes for suspicion of DUI), find out they did nothing wrong then try to search their car. Everyone has a right to refuse a police search of their vehicle these circumstances. You are perfectly within your legal right to tell an officer that they cannot search your vehicle. If they ask why, then tell them you have a right to not be searched and you don’t want them going through your private belongings.
If the police feel it necessary, they can get a drug sniffing dog to the scene, that dog can search the outside of your vehicle and the officers can see if the dog hits on any drugs. If the dog does not then there is nothing else the police can do. It should be noted that even this issue of the dog is one that is being questioned by the Supreme Court in recent cases.
The law says that the officers can only stop you for enough time to expel or deny any suspicion of criminal wrongdoing. Now if one is just stopping their car without having done anything wrong or with just have committed a minor traffic offense then it is likely illegal for the police to make someone wait until a dog comes to the scene.
The thing to remember is, if you get pulled over the officer cannot just search your car. They need to ask for consent to search your vehicle. They may try and convince you by saying things like “if there is nothing in there just let me look”, don’t fall for their head games, stand your ground and tell them no.
If your car has been illegally searched and you had contraband in there or evidence of a crime, call today for a free consultation.