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Can the Police Search My Car in Texas?

If you are stopped for speeding or for any other traffic violation, the police may ask you if they can search your car. Although an encounter with the police can be intimidating, you have rights and in most circumstances, you can say no. When an officer asks for your permission to search, you don’t have to consent. Since they are asking you, it means they don’t have a legal justification to search your car. If they are looking through your windows when they stop you, it’s a sign that they are looking for a justification to search your car. Still, we understand that refusing consent to an officer is not as easy as it sounds. You don’t want to look suspicious. However, if they were to search your car and find incriminating evidence, you will be in much bigger trouble. 

Police Need a Warrant to Search Your Car without Consent

The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects you from unreasonable searches. Generally, a warrant is needed. The warrant is granted by a judge, and it states that probable cause justifies a search. However, there are instances where the police can search your car without a warrant. A vehicle has fewer privacy rights than your body or home. It can be difficult to receive a warrant in a timely manner when a car is driving quickly. Therefore, exceptions can be made.

Probable Cause of Clear and Present Danger

If an officer believes that you are dangerous and may have weapons in your car, the officer can search your vehicle. This is a safety measure for themselves and the general public. When an officer has probable cause linking you to criminal activity, they can also forego a warrant. Probable causes can include the smell of alcohol or marijuana or a visible weapon. Once an officer has probable cause they can widen the parameters of their search to containers and the trunk.

Impounded Cars can be Searched

When your car gets towed and impounded, police can conduct a search without a warrant. This is considered an inventory search, which avoids civil liability if anything in the car is lost or damaged. Your car can be impounded for driving without a license, having no insurance on the car, or for committing car theft. The severity of the crime doesn’t matter.

Post-Arrest Police Search

Police can only search your vehicle upon arrest if they have sufficient reasons. If you are unsecured and near a compartment in the car that can hold something threatening, such as a weapon, the police will search your car. They can also check your car if there’s possible evidence that supports what you have been detained for, such as illegal drugs.

A-EZ Out Bail Bonds Has Your Back

It is important to know your rights, but to also understand the circumstances that allow searches and to be able to comply. If an object or substance is found and you get arrested, don’t panic. Contact A-EZ Out Bail Bonds right away, and we will come up with a plan to get you out of there as quickly as possible. 

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