Relations between the U.S. police force and the country’s citizens have been rocky because of various and multiple events that have been portrayed in the media. In many cases, police have overstepped the boundaries in place that protect a person’s constitutional rights. One common right that is often violated during traffic stops is the right against unreasonable searches and seizures. In most cases, a police officer must have a warrant to search your vehicle, just as if they were intending to search your home. However, there are certain exceptions that would allow officers to legally search your vehicle without a warrant and obtain evidence that may result in a criminal charge.
You Consent to the Search
The easiest way officers can legally search your vehicle without a warrant is simply by gaining your permission to search your vehicle. In most cases, the officer will ask you if he or she can search your vehicle before they resort to telling you that they are going to search it. You do not have to consent to a warrantless search. However, if you do not consent to a vehicle search, the officers will likely still proceed with the search under one of these other two circumstances.
The Evidence Was in Plain View
Officers have the right to search your vehicle if they see something that is considered to be in “plain view.” This means that whatever the officer sees must be able to be viewed from a place that the officer has a right to be and the incriminating nature of the item must be apparent.
Officers Have Probable Cause to Search
Another way police can legally search your vehicle without a warrant is through probable cause. This means that the police officers involved have a reasonable belief that they will find contraband or evidence in the vehicle.
Contact a Rolling Meadows, IL Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you have been pulled over and had your vehicle searched by police without a warrant, you should speak with a knowledgeable Arlington Heights, IL criminal defense lawyer to discuss the legality of that search. In many cases, the search may be illegal, meaning any evidence obtained cannot be used against you. Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law will help you examine your options for any criminal charges you may be facing stemming from a vehicle search. Call our office today at 847-253-3400 to schedule a free consultation.