Police Motor Vehicle Searches

Can the Police Search my Car? 

     All persons in New Jersey are protected by the Fourth Amendment from unreasonable searches and seizures by the police.  This protection is strongest in ones home and person, but still extends to your motor vehicle.  If the police violate any of your constitutional protections any evidence they collect from that violation may be excluded at trial via a motion to suppress evidence. 

 

     In order for the police to pull you over they need a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed.  What this means is the police  must have either seen you commit a crime or have good reason to think you may have or are about to.  

 

    Police may not search your vehicle without probable cause or your consent.  You do not have to consent to a police search of your vehicle, and may halt or limit their search at any time if consent has already been given.  For probable cause to exist an officer must have good reason to believe there is evidence of a crime in the car.  Probable cause usually comes in the form of an admission, smelling drugs or alcohol, or seeing contraband in plain view.  If the court finds there was no probable cause, any evidence found may be suppressed at trial and may not be used as the basis for a conviction.

 

Other Ways Police May Search a Car:

 

     'Search Incident to Arrest' - The police may search the passenger compartment of your vehicle as they are arresting someone.  This right ends once the arrestee is safetly in the police cruiser or otherwise detained.

 

     'Inventory Search' - The police may, under certain guidelines, search your car after it has been impounded.  

 

What do I do about it?

 

     If you were pulled over and the police violated any of the above, an experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer such as those who practice at Avery & Avery, Esqs., may be able to help fight your charges and suppress any evidence illegally obtained.

For a free consultation to discuss whether or not your rights have been violated, please contact the experienced Criminal Defense Attorney's of Avery & Avery, Esqs.. 

Click here for our Contact Page

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