Can a police officer search your car without a warrant?

According to a few places online, they can if they have probable cause. So do they have to tell you if that is the case?

Vent -
I'm annoyed that I let the police officer search my car last night after I got pulled over for a speeding ticket. I was worried if I said no, there might be some more problems and I know I didn't have anything to hide in my car. He did tell me that I have the right to say 'no I don't want you to search my car' or 'no I have nothing to hide, you can search my car' - of course that was tricky wording because I have nothing to hide and I didn't want them to search my car. And he said he does have the right to ask to search my car if he he suspects something. I asked if he had any reason to suspect but he didn't answer directly. He said he's a narcotics officer and there is a lot of traffiking on that road(I highly doubt that). I was driving in an area that is known to be very 'clean' and the cops have nothing better to do than pick on you. It was my fault for speeding, I am usually careful but slipped up last night. Now I am just mad at myself for not demanding an explanation on why he was suspicious and asking him if there were any consequences if I refused the search. Another officer checked my front and backseat while the main officer was issuing my ticket to me. Luckily they didn't open the trunk or I might have said something. I had a lot of bags and crap in there.
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Join Date: Jun 2001
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We just covered this in class recently.
You can refuse, then they have to get a search warrant, which would be delays for you, blah, blah.

Hubby & I recently had this debate/discussion. I'm like you, I have nothing to hide. So, I say, why not. Hasn't ever happened to me. Officers told us they've never had anyone refuse. It's definitely your right to refuse. Remember that they don't know who you are...try to keep an open mind about it. Actually, mine has been opened a lot since this course. Hubby even said he thought it was good that I'm doing this...

And, yes, narcotics is huge. Stopping you for speeding gave them cause to ask to search your car...an open door, if you will...
We just covered this in class recently.
You can refuse, then they have to get a search warrant, which would be delays for you, blah, blah.

Hubby & I recently had this debate/discussion. I'm like you, I have nothing to hide. So, I say, why not. Hasn't ever happened to me. Officers told us they've never had anyone refuse. It's definitely your right to refuse. Remember that they don't know who you are...try to keep an open mind about it. Actually, mine has been opened a lot since this course. Hubby even said he thought it was good that I'm doing this...

And, yes, narcotics is huge. Stopping you for speeding gave them cause to ask to search your car...an open door, if you will...
Originally Posted by WileECoyote - Dissolving Bikini Wearer
usually when you do this, they arrest you while they obtain a serach warrant. either way, theyre going to search your car.
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 41,043
Well, they 'detain' you for your safety & theirs...
Code:
I know, I know...
I have never been searched, but my oldest son, who was unbearably harrassed by the corrupt police in our old town, was searched all.the.time. He was thrown over the hood of the car and bodily searched and had to give permission to have his car searched several times. His advice is always: Let them do what they want, it's worse if you refuse.
We just covered this in class recently.
You can refuse, then they have to get a search warrant, which would be delays for you, blah, blah.

Hubby & I recently had this debate/discussion. I'm like you, I have nothing to hide. So, I say, why not. Hasn't ever happened to me. Officers told us they've never had anyone refuse. It's definitely your right to refuse. Remember that they don't know who you are...try to keep an open mind about it. Actually, mine has been opened a lot since this course. Hubby even said he thought it was good that I'm doing this...

And, yes, narcotics is huge. Stopping you for speeding gave them cause to ask to search your car...an open door, if you will...
Originally Posted by WileECoyote - Dissolving Bikini Wearer
usually when you do this, they arrest you while they obtain a serach warrant. either way, theyre going to search your car.
Originally Posted by subbrock

This is what I was worried about which is why I let them search my car...and I was thinking just maybe they wouldn't give me the speeding ticket if they did.

His advice is always: Let them do what they want, it's worse if you refuse.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
I know, this is what I was thinking. I have many male friends and relatives and I know that's what they would've said. I guess I am just pissed because it's never happened and I'm not used to his since they usually don't profile women. And if I were a guy, they might've done worse. It just frustrates me.

Last edited by Josephine; 10-06-2009 at 12:59 PM.
were you on Holcomb Bridge?!!??!!?!?!

i got pulled over my cousin fiance one night on that lame excuse. we had barely pulled out of the house when we were already stopped. saying that the car fit the description of a car that has been running narcs up and down Holcomb. my cousin's fiance is a very respectful Christian man and had nothing to hide. so he let them search. they seemed to want to agitate him. asking all these dumb questions. he's from the south so everything was no sir, yes sir, etc. UGH!!! i would have been a little pissed off if i was the driver, especially since all i did was pull out of my house!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IMO, always refuse. (this is what i have been told) even if you have been drinking and driving. always refuse the test. yes, u will spend the night in jail, but no DUI. unless u are dangerously intoxicated.

technically, they can search if there's probable cause, like an open liquor containment in plain view, drugs, weapons, etc. i dont think speeding counts as probable cause.

sometimes its best to just let them do their stuff if you have nothing to hide. but personally, im scared of cops. i;ve been hit on/ harrassed by a couple in the past, and i can not trust anyone who does this while wearing uniform. i'll b so paranoid that they want to do something to me or plant something. maybe i just watch too much tv.

Also, if you police lights on an unmarked car, never pull over until you are in a safe place. if you feel unsafe, you can dial *77 or #77 which usually calls the state trooper or dial 911 and let them know that you will be pulling over once you reach a gas station or something.
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IMO, always refuse. (this is what i have been told) even if you have been drinking and driving. always refuse the test. yes, u will spend the night in jail, but no DUI. unless u are dangerously intoxicated.

Originally Posted by burgundy_locks

I didn't know about *77 or #77. I was a bit scared because it was late at night. When they were taking too long to write the ticket and I heard him talking to another officer about me speeding I was wondering why there were two cops. Then I heard dogs barking. When he asked me to step out of the car I was a bit worried. I was drinking a few hours earlier(which I just remembered) and had no idea if it was still in my system or if they suspected DUI. I definitely know to refuse a DUI test if I have been drinking. Also stupid me for forgetting that I was drinking earlier and should've been extra careful with the speeding.

No it wasn't on Holcomb Bridge, it was in Henry county Mcdonough(yea far) and he thought it was suspicious that I usually travel that far and I live all the way in Stone Mountain(which he looked up). I told him I'm there every weekend. He also made small talk which was annoying, are you in school, nice car, do u take this hwy, bla bla, really, you are freakin searching my car.
it's part of an urban legend that is true:

"Some police departments do, therefore, recommend using caution if you're pulled over by an unmarked vehicle in a secluded area after dark. You should communicate your intention to stop by slowing down and turning on emergency flashers or a turn signal, they suggest, then drive to the nearest well-lit, populated area before stopping. If you're still suspicious, keep your doors locked and only partially roll down your window when the officer approaches. Ask to see a badge and photo I.D.
Using your cell phone to contact a police dispatcher (as advised in the email) is also an option, but be aware that the "dial #77" or "dial *77" option does not work in every state. If you aren't sure, dial 911 instead. (Contact your local/state police or the American Automobile Association for specific information about emergency cell phone numbers in your area.)"

here is the full urban legend story
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i has no hair type? (medium, f-iii), normal porosity, LOW elasticity.
CG journey began 2/8/09 - 4-08-09.. and then mod cg 4/14/09 -... 03/02/10- Barely CG but I like CG products
wash with Low Poo or Poo
condition with GVP Conditioning Balm or CJ BC Daily, Loreal Color Vive for Color Treated Hair Thats Normal
Leave ins- Garnier S&S; Marrakesh oil
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Play with ACV
This may vary some from state to state. But I think these are a few good examples coming from a defense attorney and a detective on this very issue in general.

The attorney:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8z7NC5sgik

The detective:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08fZQWjDVKE

They are a bit long, at nearly 30 min each, but a worthy watch indeed.
Stephen Fry on "respect" and being "offended".
Calgon take me away.
If they thought you were drug trafficking, why wouldn't they have searched your trunk? That doesn't make sense.
Minneapolis, MN
If they thought you were drug trafficking, why wouldn't they have searched your trunk? That doesn't make sense.
Originally Posted by Poodlehead
This occurred to me as well. I really haven't had too many pleasant experience w/ cops and find a lot of them abuse their power or let it fill their egos.

What if they situation was a bit different and although you got pulled over only for speeding... say you had an open bottle in your car from the night before that you forgot to put in the trunk. Then what do you say when they ask to search your car?

Also, I've never heard of the advice to refuse a breathalizer (sp?) if you have been drinking. Can someone elaborate on this? How can you really get out of a DUI?? It just seems to good to be true to get pulled over after drinking, refuse the breathalizer, spend a night in jail and then get off free. Hopefully I won't ever be put in this situation anyway. *knock on wood*
3c
Also, I've never heard of the advice to refuse a breathalizer (sp?) if you have been drinking. Can someone elaborate on this? How can you really get out of a DUI?? It just seems to good to be true to get pulled over after drinking, refuse the breathalizer, spend a night in jail and then get off free. Hopefully I won't ever be put in this situation anyway. *knock on wood*
Originally Posted by MissJ

I don't think that works. I've never gotten a DUI, but I think if you refuse the breath test, they can take you to the hospital for a forced blood test. If they suspect you are intoxicated, you're gonna get tested, one way or another.

I was evaluated for intoxication one time. The cop pulled me over for something else, and it was really cold out and I guess he thought I slurred my speech or something (my teeth were chattering), because he made me get out and walk a line and put my finger on my nose. I must have passed (I was stone cold sober) because he didn't suggest a breath test and I was allowed to go on my way.
my understanding (though i have never been in it, and dont drink and drive) is that if you have been drinking, not intoxicated, but maybe had 2 drinks, and you get pulled over for no reason (you weren't speeding, no lights out, no swirving), and they ask you to get out of your vehicle, ask why. if they say they want to conduct a breathelizer or the coordination test (usually they'll do this first i believe), just say no. just say i dont think i have done anything wrong and i am refusing to take the test. you can say its too dark, you dont feel safe, the street conditions arent good, etc. they are going to keep pushing but just say no. they are going to threaten with jail- and you let that be. they have no grounds for stopping you so they can't charge you with anything. sure, you would have spent the night in jail, but with no test to prove you were under the influence, you can't get a DUI.

again, ive never been in this position, but this is what EVERY guy has told me.
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i has no hair type? (medium, f-iii), normal porosity, LOW elasticity.
CG journey began 2/8/09 - 4-08-09.. and then mod cg 4/14/09 -... 03/02/10- Barely CG but I like CG products
wash with Low Poo or Poo
condition with GVP Conditioning Balm or CJ BC Daily, Loreal Color Vive for Color Treated Hair Thats Normal
Leave ins- Garnier S&S; Marrakesh oil
style with - Ohm SHP; KCCC- BRHG or Boots- KCCC- BRHG; CIAB; CCCC
Protein- GVP Joico K-Pak
Play with ACV
my understanding (though i have never been in it, and dont drink and drive) is that if you have been drinking, not intoxicated, but maybe had 2 drinks, and you get pulled over for no reason (you weren't speeding, no lights out, no swirving), and they ask you to get out of your vehicle, ask why. if they say they want to conduct a breathelizer or the coordination test (usually they'll do this first i believe), just say no. just say i dont think i have done anything wrong and i am refusing to take the test. you can say its too dark, you dont feel safe, the street conditions arent good, etc. they are going to keep pushing but just say no. they are going to threaten with jail- and you let that be. they have no grounds for stopping you so they can't charge you with anything. sure, you would have spent the night in jail, but with no test to prove you were under the influence, you can't get a DUI.

again, ive never been in this position, but this is what EVERY guy has told me.
Originally Posted by burgundy_locks


I think that's gonna vary by state. In some states, they presume you are guilty if you refuse.

No thanks on the night in jail. I really prefer to keep my jail-free record. If I've only had 2 drinks, hours previously, then I'm going to pass the breath test. I wouldn't be driving in the first place if I was intoxicated or impaired.
Also, I've never heard of the advice to refuse a breathalizer (sp?) if you have been drinking. Can someone elaborate on this? How can you really get out of a DUI?? It just seems to good to be true to get pulled over after drinking, refuse the breathalizer, spend a night in jail and then get off free. Hopefully I won't ever be put in this situation anyway. *knock on wood*
Originally Posted by MissJ

I don't think that works. I've never gotten a DUI, but I think if you refuse the breath test, they can take you to the hospital for a forced blood test. If they suspect you are intoxicated, you're gonna get tested, one way or another.

I was evaluated for intoxication one time. The cop pulled me over for something else, and it was really cold out and I guess he thought I slurred my speech or something (my teeth were chattering), because he made me get out and walk a line and put my finger on my nose. I must have passed (I was stone cold sober) because he didn't suggest a breath test and I was allowed to go on my way.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
I was evaluated for intoxication once also in my stupid days (which wasn't that long ago). I think I'm the luckiest person ever because I had been drinking AND had an open liquor bottle in my car (I know, I know). Anyway, I had to walk the line, count, follow the pen w/ my eyes, the whole 9 yards). Back up was even called. I think my gymnastics background paid off because I passed. They also searched my car, but I was up front and told them there was an open container. Originally, he said I was pulled over because I was at a red light making a left turn, and I guess I was pulled up too far into the crosswalk a little. Then I supposedly made a wide turn. He said he smelled alcohol when he came to my window. Scariest.thing.ever. Needless to say, I drove home with no citations. (He made sure to tell me he could've given me 3 citations: Being in the crosswalk, making too wide of a turn, and having an open container). Someone was definitely looking out for me that night.

/end ramble

eta: I DID learn a lesson that night. Just had to throw that in there.
3c

What if they situation was a bit different and although you got pulled over only for speeding... say you had an open bottle in your car from the night before that you forgot to put in the trunk. Then what do you say when they ask to search your car?

Also, I've never heard of the advice to refuse a breathalizer (sp?) if you have been drinking. Can someone elaborate on this? How can you really get out of a DUI?? It just seems to good to be true to get pulled over after drinking, refuse the breathalizer, spend a night in jail and then get off free. Hopefully I won't ever be put in this situation anyway. *knock on wood*
Originally Posted by MissJ
To the bolded - I thought about that and was sure I didn't have anything (very rarely I do but a lot of times I will have something in the trunk). As for the DUI, once you take a breathalizer and you fail, you are pretty much screwed and will get a DUI. If you are lucky you can get it reduced to some other violation(depends on the judge and area, circumstances). If you refuse, they can arrest you for refusing to take one and I believe they have to get a warrant or some paperwork before they can administer it which usually takes a while and by then most of the alcohol will have left your system. I am not sure exactly how this works, but I've been told you better refuse if you know you're gonna fail.
Also, I've never heard of the advice to refuse a breathalizer (sp?) if you have been drinking. Can someone elaborate on this? How can you really get out of a DUI?? It just seems to good to be true to get pulled over after drinking, refuse the breathalizer, spend a night in jail and then get off free. Hopefully I won't ever be put in this situation anyway. *knock on wood*
Originally Posted by MissJ

I don't think that works. I've never gotten a DUI, but I think if you refuse the breath test, they can take you to the hospital for a forced blood test. If they suspect you are intoxicated, you're gonna get tested, one way or another.

I was evaluated for intoxication one time. The cop pulled me over for something else, and it was really cold out and I guess he thought I slurred my speech or something (my teeth were chattering), because he made me get out and walk a line and put my finger on my nose. I must have passed (I was stone cold sober) because he didn't suggest a breath test and I was allowed to go on my way.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
Maine has an implied consent law...you give permission for the breathalyzer just by driving. Refusing the test is an automatic 275 day license suspension, on top of whatever punishment you get if you're over .08 when they finally get the test.
Baby fine 2c/3a...modified CG since 07/30/08 & lovin' it so far
Also, I've never heard of the advice to refuse a breathalizer (sp?) if you have been drinking. Can someone elaborate on this? How can you really get out of a DUI?? It just seems to good to be true to get pulled over after drinking, refuse the breathalizer, spend a night in jail and then get off free. Hopefully I won't ever be put in this situation anyway. *knock on wood*
Originally Posted by MissJ

I don't think that works. I've never gotten a DUI, but I think if you refuse the breath test, they can take you to the hospital for a forced blood test. If they suspect you are intoxicated, you're gonna get tested, one way or another.

I was evaluated for intoxication one time. The cop pulled me over for something else, and it was really cold out and I guess he thought I slurred my speech or something (my teeth were chattering), because he made me get out and walk a line and put my finger on my nose. I must have passed (I was stone cold sober) because he didn't suggest a breath test and I was allowed to go on my way.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
Maine has an implied consent law...you give permission for the breathalyzer just by driving. Refusing the test is an automatic 275 day license suspension, on top of whatever punishment you get if you're over .08 when they finally get the test.
Originally Posted by Curlywaves
See, this is what I thought.. that there were laws like that. I thought it was illegal to refuse a breath test.
3c
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And you are really screwed if any hint of a DWI/DUI goes on your record..

And MissJ you are correct. When I was doing ride alongs, we stopped a guy for not wearing his seatbelt. After a check was done on him, it was found out warrants were out for him, plus he was from another state. Dude was pissed when they handcuffed him. He was banging on the back of the front of the seat, doors, windows, etc. I thought he would come thru the damn seat! lol Quite the experience...

Someone else we pulled over was due to being over the crosswalk at a light. That stop eventually led to the car being searched & ended up letting the individuals go... and, yes, most cops will have backup..Superman syndrome can get you killed....

Tonite is CSI hands on...can't wait!

Had the pleasure of helping out w/ this case doing some CSI stuff....
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33129545...ws-houston_tx/
Unfortunately, didn't get to be in that ride along, but know some folks who did...

Last edited by WileECoyote - Dissolving Bikini Wearer; 10-06-2009 at 04:13 PM.

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