Can a vehicle search be thrown out if I wasn’t there and my vehicle was searched?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a vehicle search be thrown out if I wasn’t there and my vehicle was searched?

My son was pulled over and consented to a vehicle search where they found a small amount of his pot that he told them was there. However, the vehicle he was driving belongs to me. Does this mean he wasn’t able to consent because it wasn’t his vehicle or does that not matter because he was driving. My vehicle was impounded and he was arrested. He had requested to call me to come pick up the vehicle but the officer refused and said it had to be impounded. Which I don’t believe it to be true

considering it was parked in a residential area away from traffic. Now I can’t get my car out of impound. Was the impound and search done legally?

Asked on September 1, 2017 under General Practice, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

A permitted driver may consent to a search of a vehicle. If he was at least 18 (legally an adult), there is no doubt but that he could consent to the search, the same way an 18-year-old (or older) lawful resident of a home or apartment can consent to a search of it. 
If he was a minor (less than 18), a court would look at the circumstances to see if he could reasonably consent. It is possible that a court would throw it out, but it's unlikely: if he is mature enough to drive and had use of your vehicle, so that he could, for example, invite others to enter or ride in it, it is very likely that a court would find he could consent. You could try to challenge it if he was a minor, but would need *something* showing he reasonably did not have the mental capacity or very clearly did not have (and the police should have understood him to not have) the authority to consent.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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