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Determining if a search of your car was unlawful

Take a moment and imagine being pulled over by police one evening. Even if it's not your first time getting pulled over, you may very well be on edge. You might not know what you did wrong or why police are pulling you over.

On the other hand, police know exactly what they want and what they are looking for when they pull any driver over. They know the procedures they are supposed to follow and how far they can bend the law before breaking it. This can put you at a serious disadvantage, especially if police search your car.

Police searches of a car can be the crux of a criminal defense case. For instance, if you are charged with a drug crime based on evidence uncovered during a search, it can be vital that you challenge any aspect of the search that may have been improper or a violation of your rights.

In order to determine if a search was lawful, you need to answer the following questions.

  1. Did you give permission to the police to search your car?
  2. Were there any illicit substances or drug paraphernalia in plain sight?
  3. Was there legitimate probable cause to search your vehicle without a warrant?
  4. Did the officer have a search warrant?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then a search may very well be lawful, even if it seems unfair.

However, if the answer to these questions is no, then you may have grounds to challenge the search in an effort to have any illegally gathered evidence dismissed.

Drug charges often stem from traffic stops, which may not be surprising. This is when police often have the upper hand and when drivers have no place to hide. However, while police officers are likely much more familiar with traffic stop laws and procedures than you are, you still have rights that must be protected.

If you have been arrested for a drug crime as a result of a traffic stop, you can defend yourself by challenging police procedures and scrutinizing the details of a search. Doing so with the help of an attorney who understands search laws and criminal defense strategies will be crucial.

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