Any time you are stopped by the police, you likely feel a slight twinge of panic, especially if you have something illegal in your possession. If the police suspect you are carrying drugs, they may demand to search your car. Can a law enforcement officer actually legally search your car? It is a logical question and many people do not know the answer.
Generally, we know that police officers need a warrant to search any private property. Unfortunately, this does not apply to searching a vehicle. It takes some time to process a warrant for a search, so when it comes to this type of scenario, police can search your car without a warrant. Instead, they can search your vehicle on the basis of probable cause.
What is Probable Cause?
If the police suspect any criminal activities taking place inside the car, then probable cause can be used by the police to search your vehicle. Here are some situations in which police may search your car:
You have given consent to the officer
The officer has probable cause to believe that the vehicle houses evidence of a crime
Evidence of potential drug possession
The officer reasonably believes that the search is necessary for his or her own protection (for example, if there is a hidden weapon)
The driver has been arrested previously
An officer may stop a car if the officer has a viable and reasonable suspicion that a traffic law was violated by the driver. If the reason for the stop is a minor traffic violation, such as speeding, the officer is probably not allowed to search your car for another reason. Nonetheless, if the arrest occurs because of your non-cooperation, then the police are allowed to search the whole car.
When You May be Charged for Drug Possession
There are different situations that can lead to arrest and prosecution for drug possession, and not all people arrested are actually guilty of a crime.
For example, a person may receive a package from a friend or acquaintance in the mail. The next day that person goes to work and is pulled over for speeding. The officer checks the car and asks to open the package, the driver agrees, and the officer then finds amphetamines, cocaine, and heroin in the package. Although the person claims to be unaware that the package contained drugs, he or she will be charged with possession.
Many people erroneously believe when they are caught in possession of drugs that they were unaware of, charges will not be filed against them. There must be sufficient evidence that the person did not actually know about the illegal possession of the drug. An experienced attorney can help prove this.
Hire a Texas Drug Lawyer to Provide a Strong Defense
If you are charged with possession, manufacture, or delivery of an illegal substance or face other drug charges, you must ensure that your legal rights are protected in legal proceedings. The attorneys at Abel Law Firm will research all the facts of your case to help you develop your case strategy and build a solid defense. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.