You might be wondering what to do if a police officer asks to search your vehicle upon pulling you over for a traffic violation. Many people feel intimidated and nervous during a traffic stop and might not realize that they can and should refuse a vehicle search. If an officer is asking to search your car, chances are he or she is suspicious of something more going on than your minor traffic infraction. Usually officers ask to search a vehicle due to suspicions of DUI, open alcohol or drug possession.
The Fourth Amendment protects drivers from unreasonable searches and seizures. Generally, the 4th Amendment requires an officer to secure a warrant before performing a search of one's person, home, vehicle, or effects. There are certain exceptions to the warrant requirement, one of which is consent.
If you refuse to give consent to the search, officers might proceed to search anyway. Don't be discouraged. If a court determines that they searched your vehicle without a warrant and with no exception to the 4th Amendment warrant requirement, the court will have to suppress the evidence obtained as a result of the unlawful search.
Suppression of evidence obtained illegally at your criminal trial is not automatic. You must file a motion to suppress and request a hearing on whether your 4th Amendment rights have been violated. If you have recently been arrested after a traffic stop, contact J. Aldrich Law, P.C. for a free consultation. Sometimes criminal charges are dismissed before trial if the only evidence against you was obtained illegally. Our attorneys are experienced in traffic and criminal matters, including defending your case through the use of pretrial motions. We are ready and willing to defend your constitutional rights in court!