There are times when cops may search the vehicle of a person suspected of impaired driving. However, they can’t just search it because they want to. An experienced Youngstown OVI Lawyer like Sean Logue will be quick to remind you that the United States Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and the seizure of your car. Though the protections for your car are not as strong as for your home, you do have the right to expect privacy in your vehicle. This means that cops can’t search your vehicle without a warrant, or without some exception to the rule or other.
Probably the most common exception is when police search a vehicle after they have arrested the driver because they think they might find evidence of a crime in the car.
The next exception is a search that is related to the arrest of the driver. For example, if the cop sees a sealed bottle of whiskey on the floor in the backseat, he can arrest the driver on suspicion of OVI and search his car.
Another exception to the warrant rule is in cases where the cops believe a search of your vehicle is required for their protection or safety. A good example of this is if they believe you have a gun in your car.
Finally, if you tell the police they are allowed to search your car, they can – and probably will – do it. This is never a good idea; if they ask, refuse to allow it. They probably have no reason to search it if they have to ask, and it’s always better to exercise your Constitutional right to privacy.
If you are arrested for OVI, your car will be towed to an impound yard. The police may search the vehicle in this case to take an inventory of what’s in it.
Always remember that you have a reasonable expectation of privacy in your car, truck, or SUV. Laws require police officers and state troopers to obtain warrants to search vehicles for a reason, and you are well within your rights to refuse warrantless searches. There are no legal ramifications for telling cops they can’t search your car without a warrant.
Also keep in mind that officers are legally only allowed to detain you as long as it takes to investigate the situation and write you a traffic ticket.
There is a possibility in certain situations that police officers will want to bring a drug sniffing dog to walk around your car. This is not legally a search and is permissible, but if you have to wait for the dog to show up, it becomes an illegal situation, because you were detained too long. In this circumstance, the judge should exclude any evidence found as a result of the delay.
If your car has been searched following a OVI arrest, or if you gave police permission to search because they asked, it will benefit you to contact a seasoned attorney like those found at Youngstown Criminal Law Group. Sean Logue and his associates have decades of combined experience in OVI defense. They have trained extensively and used that training to defend hundreds of clients. Often, they have been able to get OVI charges reduced or dismissed in their clients’ cases.
Remember that, if the police do search your vehicle without a warrant, it is possibly an illegal search. They must have a solid legal basis. They must also have a good warrant. A defective warrant makes the search just as illegal as no warrant at all. An attorney who understands OVI defense will be able to point this out to the court, and the judge will have to make any evidence gathered during the search inadmissible. For this to happen, your attorney has to first file a motion. Then, at a hearing called an “evidentiary hearing,” he will present an argument to the court.
Youngstown Criminal Law Group offers free initial consultations and 24/7 access to the best criminal defense attorneys in the Tri-State area.
Call (330) 625-9199 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.