Sadly, many people in the Philadelphia area and throughout the country are subjected to illegal vehicle searches by police. These often arise from shady law enforcement tactics. For example, an officer may try to convince you that you are required to submit to a vehicle search. Police may also try to elicit a confession of guilt by asking questions such as “Do you know how fast you were speeding back there?”

The truth is that police are only allowed to search your vehicle under certain circumstances. If you have had your constitutional rights violated through an illegal vehicle search, it is likely that you were then arrested for a crime. If this happens, call an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer at (215) 839-9529 right away. At Fienman Law, we understand that people are frequently taken advantage of by law enforcement. We will work tirelessly to protect your rights and get your charges dismissed, if possible.

When Police Can Search Your Vehicle

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects against illegal search and seizure. When they do not have a warrant, police need probable cause to search your property, like your car. This means that an officer has to have evidence that you are involved in an illegal activity. Probable cause must be established through something noticeable, such as seeing drugs in the passenger seat or being able to smell narcotics. It is important to realize that minor violations, such as being stopped for speeding or a broken taillight, are not considered evidence for probable cause.

Other circumstances that allow police to search your vehicle without a warrant include, but are not limited to:

  • You have given the officer consent
  • Your vehicle has been impounded
  • The officer believes that the search is necessary for their own safety
  • You have been arrested and the police need to search for illegal materials.

As mentioned previously, police will try almost anything for the opportunity to search your vehicle. When you are pulled over, for example, the officer may try to aggravate you in the hopes that you will engage in inappropriate conduct. This will allow the officer to arrest you and then legally search your car. They may also try to convince you to allow a search, but when no other reason for a search exists, you have every right to deny a police officer’s request.

Why You Should Not Consent to a Search

When you consent to a search of your vehicle, you are giving the police permission to find evidence that can be used against you. Anything found in a search can be used in a court of law. Police may also seize any cash or possessions they find, leaving you at a severe financial disadvantage.

Let Fienman Law Protect Your Rights

Police vehicle searches can be devastating. After all, they often uncover evidence of illegal activity that can be used to bring drug charges or even a DUI. An experienced Philadelphia defense lawyer can protect your Fourth Amendment rights by proving that the search was illegal, which can lead to your criminal charges being thrown out.

Call Fienman Law today at (215) 839-9529 to see how we can help.

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