Getting pulled over in the state of Texas can be a pretty stressful situation in general. Even if it is just ultimately a warning for speeding, it can still be a long wait to hear from the officer. However, sometimes, getting pulled over can lead to much, much more. For example, the police can demand a search of a person’s car. A lot of Texans wonder though, when can a cop search your car in Texas? It’s a question many people don’t know the right answers to.
Generally speaking, a warrant is usually needed to search a person’s property. Being on the road is a unique situation though, because there is a much higher chance of a flight risk before a warrant can be obtained. If the police feel as though they have probable cause, they can go ahead without the need of a warrant.
While probable cause is one exception to the need for a warrant, there is a list of exceptions that work in law enforcement’s favor.
As stated above, this is one of the most used exceptions out there. Probably cause can be used whenever there appears to be some evidence of criminal activity in the car. One of the most common uses of probable cause is when the police smell drugs or alcohol coming from inside the vehicle.
Police are able to search not only the interior of the car, but the trunk as well with probably cause. This allows them to see if anything is being hidden.
A Person Is Arrested
Whenever a person is actually arrested after being pulled over, police can search the car. This is to see if there is any evidence in the car that might help build a case.
Fear of Weapons
Police officers are always going to be on the lookout for themselves when making a stop. They will constantly be checking out who they pull over, because there are some instances where things can get really out of hand. A lot of crazy things can happen a person decides to use any type of weapon against law enforcement. In order to combat this, a police offer can search a car if they fear that there are weapons around.
Many times, a police officer actually spots some type of weapon, or an accessory to a weapon, and instantly makes the call to search the vehicle. Not only does this protect the police officer, but it could potentially prevent the community from any type of huge scene.
Consent From The Driver
Yes, sometimes people simply consent to having their car searched. This is usually done by those people who know they have nothing to hide. However, there are some who are simply trying to call the police’s bluff. Maybe they feel like they have an insane hiding spot.
Consent only happens if it is voluntary. If a police officer is constantly heckling a person to consent, it no longer qualifies.
After Being Impounded
Any car that ends up being impounded is subject to search. This is referred to as an inventory search, and it is pretty standard procedure overall.
Can officers search a car without reason?
The Lone Star state prohibits a police officer from searching a car without a proper exception to having a warrant. However, because a lot of the exceptions can be rather vague, there are many instances in which officers will simply provide the closest exception for their reasoning.
As one might expect, anyone who feels as though they have had their car searched illegally by the police should seek legal action. This is the best way to get justice for being put in the situation. Although a person is technically out on public streets, drivers should still be granted a certain amount of privacy overall.
Going through a car search can be a terrifying experience, mostly for those people who did not do anything wrong. Cops are never going to have perfect records when it comes to making the right decisions on car searches, but there are some cases in which a person could put together pursue legal action if they feel they were wronged. The best way to find out all the different options that are available for individual? Talk to a lawyer.
A lawyer in the field knows all the tricks of the trade when it comes to legal and illegal searches of vehicles. They will be able to advise on the best plan and way to go about potentially getting evidence thrown out of court for being improperly seized.