Can cops search my car if it was parked in front of my house and I have no criminal record?

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Can cops search my car if it was parked in front of my house and I have no criminal record?

Asked on August 26, 2015 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You did not give much by way of details. However, citizens are given protection from unlawful searches and seizures under the constitution. Consequently, in order to search a car, an officer must have the driver's and/or owner's consent or have a valid warrant. That having been said, there are exceptions. First, if the police have "probable cause" they may search a car that is they have reason to believe that it contains evidence related to a crime. Second, when the police make a lawful arrest, an officer may search not only the arrested person but also the area immediately around them. This include the car that the person was traveling in just prior to their arrest.
If you have any further questions, you can directly contact a criminal law attorney in your area.

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If the police have probable cause, which means a reasonable belief that criminal activity is afoot, your car can be searched.
No search warrant is required because by the time the police obtain a warrant and return, your car and any contraband in the car will be gone.


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