Are Police Allowed to Search My Car?
If you are wondering if Texas police are allowed to search your car, the answer is yes, but they need to have probable cause.
There has been a lot of discussion about the power of law enforcement in a range of situations, including searching personal property for unlawful items, such as illegal weapons or illicit drugs. The truth is police have to follow laws when they do their jobs, and according to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, citizens have the right to be free from “unreasonable searches and seizures,” so a warrant must be in place or an officer must have probable cause for a vehicle search.
Were you a victim of an unreasonable search by law enforcement? Discuss your situation with a Houston criminal lawyer. With a seasoned attorney on your side, it may be possible to get the charge against you dismissed when police were not following proper protocol.
Asking for Consent During a Traffic Stop
It is important to remember that it is possible to give a police officer consent during a traffic stop. So, if you were stopped and an officer asks if they can take a look around your vehicle, and you say yes, the search is legal. Disputing anything found during the search becomes difficult because you gave consent.
If you do not want law enforcement to look through your car, you can refuse a search. It is possible the search will still happen, but you can then dispute the validity of the search. The process could have been unreasonable.
The reason a search could still happen is because an officer could claim they had probable cause. For example, if an officer pulls over a car for running a stop sign and smells marijuana or sees weapons, the officer could point to these as probable cause.
While you do have the right to refuse a search, remember to stay focused and in control. Arguing with officers can lead to escalation of emotions. If you are not charged, ask if you are free to leave. If you are arrested, ask for a lawyer. And if you believe your rights were violated, file a complaint.
Connect with a Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer
When you or someone you love is charged with a crime, you need an experienced attorney to ensure your rights are protected. This is also true if the arrest is in connection with a vehicle search. When talking with your Houston criminal lawyer, your attorney may propose options you had not considered. One of these may be that the car search itself was unreasonable. If the search itself was invalid, the evidence could be challenged.
Was your car illegally searched for illicit drugs or illegal weapons? You have rights. Our experienced legal team can defend you against criminal charges. We have the knowledge to protect you whether the alleged crime was minor or serious. Reach out to the legal team at Ayson Law Firm to understand your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation with a Houston criminal lawyer today.