Traffic violations in Florida contribute to a large amount of police encounters; and many times these encounters lead to arrests for more serious violations after the driver’s car is searched. It is important to know about your rights and protections while driving, and to be aware of what actions police are legally allowed to employ.
Constitutional Rights protect drivers from illegal searches and seizures. However, police are allowed to conduct a search of a vehicle without a warrant under certain circumstances. These circumstances include:
- Consent to Search: A driver’s consent for an officer to search the vehicle operates as a waiver of constitutional rights under the 4th amendment protection against illegal searches and seizures. Additionally, any incriminating evidence obtained from the search can be used against the driver.
- Plain View Rule: A police officer is authorized to search a vehicle if within the officer’s plain view there is any illegal substance or contraband visible.
- Exigent Circumstances: A police officer is allowed to search a vehicle if in their discretion they reasonably believe that an immediate search is necessary to prevent harm or serious damage, or they believe that evidence of a crime is in danger of being destroyed.
- Probable Cause: A police officer is authorized to search a vehicle without a warrant if they have a sufficient reason justifying probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed.
If you have been arrested following a traffic stop and have questions regarding your rights, call Blick Law Firm today at (813) 931-0840 to schedule a free 15 minute appointment with attorney Michael Blickensderfer.