Some people might not know the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects U.S. citizens from unreasonable
searches and seizures. This Amendment prevents law enforcement from barging
into anyone’s home they see fit. Instead, police officers must get
a warrant from a judge to search a specific area. However, there are also
some circumstances where the Amendment doesn’t apply.
During any routine traffic stop, a police officer cannot search your car
unless he or she has probable cause to search it legally. Probable cause
means police must have some facts or evidence to believe you’re
involved in criminal activity. An officer cannot just have a hunch to
search your car without your consent.
However, if an officer sees something in plain view that is illegal, he
or she can search your car based on the observation. For example, if someone
leaves a bag of marijuana in your backseat and an officer spots it, he
or she can search your vehicle with probable cause you might be involved
in an illegal drug activity. Minor traffic violations, such as speeding,
expired registration, or a broken taillight, are not probable cause for
a search of your car either.
If you are pulled over for any reason, make sure to be polite with the
police officer and follow his or her instructions if he or she asks you
to step out of the vehicle. If he or she tries to get you to admit fault,
you can exercise your 5th Amendment rights. If they detain and frisk you, you also have the right
to state clearly your refusal to consent to the search. Say, “Officer,
I’m not resisting. I do not consent to this search.” However,
you should only verbally refuse. Never physically resist.
If you’re facing a criminal charge after an illegal search of your
property, let us help. Our skilled
Virginia Beach criminal defense attorneys have more than 20 years of legal experience to offer your case. Let us
see how we can defend your rights and freedom.
Contact us at (757) 517-2942 or fill out our online form to schedule your FREE consultation today.