Was the Police Search of My Car Illegal?

permission to search, fourth amendment rights, Illinois Criminal Defense LawyerEvery year, a surprising number of people are arrested after having their cars searched. Often, the police find drugs, weapons, or other contraband in the car and then arrest all of the occupants. But, police are not allowed to randomly search vehicles. Everyone in the United States has a Constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

If you have had you car searched by police, it is important to know if the search was legal or not.

Search and Seizure Law Basics

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives you the right to not have your property searched or taken unreasonably. This means that the police must either have your permission, a warrant, or there must exist some special circumstance, before they can search your property, including your car.

If a search is found by a court to have been illegal, all evidence gathered from that search will be inadmissible in court. This is sometimes called “fruit of the poisonous tree”. If you give the police permission to search you vehicle, however, the search will almost certainly be legal.

Closely related to car searches is the idea of the stop. Police must have seen a violation, even a minor one, before they can pull you over. If there was no reason for the stop, anything that happens after the illegal stop will not be allowed into court.

Police Tactics

The police know the law better than you do in most cases. If you refuse to let them search your car, they may try to pressure you by telling you that you must be guilty, otherwise you would have nothing to hide. This is little more than a tactic, do not give in. You are within your rights to refuse permission to search your car.

Another tactic commonly used by police is the threat of a drug sniffing dog. The dog may or may not exist. Regardless, you should still refuse to give permission to search your car. If a drug sniffing dog is called out and the dog indicates there may be drugs in the car, the police will be able to search your car without your permission.

You have a duty to cooperate with the police, but not at the expense of your legal rights.

You do not have to face the criminal justice system alone. Before you talk to anyone about your criminal case, including the police, consult with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal law attorney. We are prepared to fight on your behalf and to ensure your rights are fully protected at every stage of the process. Call 847-253-3100 today to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated lawyer who knows how to get results.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1966&ChapterID=54&SeqStart=10300000&SeqEnd=11900000

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