Search Warrants

Law enforcement does not need a search warrant to search your vehicle.  They do need probable cause to believe that you have contraband in the vehicle before they can legally search.  Speeding, not wearing a seat belt, tinted windows, covered license plates may be violations, but they are not probable cause to search your car.

The officer may ask once he has given you a ticket if he can “look” in your car.  Say “no”.  The word “look” has an entirely different meaning to the trooper than it does to you.  If you say “yes”, they will tear your car apart looking for drugs.

The courts in this country have long decided that law enforcement does not need a search warrant for a vehicle out on the highway.  It is called the vehicle exception to the search warrant requirement.  But, again, they need some basis on which to reasonably believe you have drugs in the car.  If you consent to a search, you will have no basis to object.  This may cause difficulty for your attorney to find a defense for you if you had consented to the search.

You are not required to engage in conversation with the trooper while he is checking your license and registration.  You do not have to tell him where you are coming from, going to, or what you have been doing.  If there is more than one of you in the car, they will ask those questions separately and out of hearing of each other.  Do not be afraid of making the trooper angry or annoyed.  If they have a reason to arrest you, they will arrest you whether they are angry or annoyed or not.

Just say “no”.

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