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Police have more leeway to search a car than a home

A question that often come to the mind of people when they are stopped by police involves whether the police officers have a right to search the vehicle during the stop. The simple answer is that police have a variety of options to choose from when wanting to search a vehicle during a traffic stop. The options they have generally give them more leeway to search a vehicle than to search a home.

Police officers can opt to search a vehicle without a warrant if they have probable cause. In order to meet this requirement, they would have to reasonably believe that there is evidence in your vehicle pertaining to a crime. It doesn't matter what the reason for the officer pulling you over was.

If you give the officer consent, he or she can search your vehicle. Additionally, if the officer thinks that there is a safety issue, such as a hidden gun, a search is allowed without a warrant. If you are arrested, the officer can search a vehicle for evidence related to the arrest.

Finally, if your vehicle is impounded, there isn't a need for a warrant if the police opt to search your vehicle. The limit to this type of search is that the police can't impound your vehicle just because they want to search your vehicle.

Many people try to cite the Fourth Amendment as a reason to forbid a search of a vehicle; however, warrantless police searches when the search is considered reasonable have been ruled as being in compliance with the Fourth Amendment by the Supreme Court. For those who have been stopped and had their vehicles searched, understanding their rights can help them. If evidence used during the search is used in a criminal case, learning if the evidence is lawful is vital.

Source: FindLaw, "Can the Police Legitimately Search My Vehicle Without a Warrant?," accessed July 05, 2015

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