The Fourth Amendment protects drivers from unreasonable searches and seizures.
When police ask for permission to search, and you give it to them, then
consented to a search of the whole car! You do not have to say yes. Then, they have to apply
for a search warrant.
Police can conduct a full inventory search of car, if your vehicle is seized
Inventory searches result in evidence that is generally admissible in court.
Police can search gym bags, boxes or other closed containers in the passenger
compartment of your vehicle without a warrant, if it is
incident to your arrest. The Law allows this for officer "safety" and to prevent occupants
from reaching weapon inside the car.
If you are not under arrest, then police cannot search your car without a valid search warrant. They
must have probable cause for a warrant, then reasonable belief that the
gym bag, box or other container holds evidence of the crime.
Searches are NOT always legal.
The circumstances of the search are key!
- Police may have failed to follow proper procedures
- They may not have had probable cause
- They may not have a reasonable suspicion for a closed container search
- The search warrant may not have been valid
- OR, there could be other problems that ONLY a knowledgeable lawyer is prepared
You may be able to get the evidence thrown out in court.
You should always have a criminal defense attorney evaluate your case.
You need HONEST, SOUND and VALID advice to get the best outcome. Your
rights are important, hire experience!