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What Should I Do If a Policeman Asks To Search My Vehicle?

The U.S. Constitution Protects You From Unreasonable Vehicle Searches

The Fourth Amendment guards citizens against unreasonable search and seizure. This means that a police officer needs permission to search your body and your property, including your vehicle unless he has sufficient and trustworthy facts suggesting that you are involved in criminal activity.

By law, a police officer may only search your vehicle under one of the following circumstances: ?

  1. The officer has a valid search warrant signed by a magistrate.
  2. You consent to the search.
  3. The officer has probable cause to believe there are illegal goods in the vehicle.

If the cops do not have a search warrant or probable cause to examine the inside of your vehicle and you did not consent to a search, any evidence of criminal activity obtained during the search will likely be suppressed by a judge if criminal charges are brought against you.

What Is The Risk of Consenting To A Police Search Of My Car?

Many Texas citizens automatically consent to a vehicle search after being pulled over for a simple traffic offense because they do not know they have the right to refuse the search. This is a grave mistake with potentially damaging consequences, especially when there is evidence of illegal activity inside of the vehicle. You should never give consent to a vehicle search.

The lawfulness of a vehicle search is often a key issue of dispute in drug possession cases. Convincing a court that there was not a warrant authorizing a vehicle search or probable cause to support the search is not an insurmountable task for defense attorneys. Criminal defense attorneys also have a reasonable likelihood of success when challenging a cop’s unduly long detention of a suspect for the purpose of bringing a drug-sniffing canine to the scene. However, defending cases in which a suspect freely consented to a police search of the vehicle can be extraordinarily difficult for an attorney.

When you consent to a police search of your vehicle, you reduce the number of defense strategies available to your lawyer in your drug possession case. Any attempt to show the court that your consent to a vehicle search was coerced will likely result in a “he said, she said” debate between you and the cop, and most judges tend to believe the officer in these situations. By not consenting to a vehicle search, you leave open a number of viable defenses for your attorney.

Houston/Galveston Criminal Defense Attorney Mark A. Diaz Can Defend Your Case By Challenging an Unlawful Search

Mark A. Diaz is an aggressive criminal defense attorney with more than fifteen years of experience defending drug possession cases. As an attorney well versed in proper police procedure, Mr. Diaz will evaluate your case closely to determine if your constitutional rights were violated, and will work aggressively to get the court to reduce the charges against you or dismiss your case entirely.

This website has been prepared by Mark A. Diaz for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.  

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