Can police search a wallet that was dropped off at a police station?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can police search a wallet that was dropped off at a police station?

I lost my wallet recently and someone else found it and dropped it off at the police station. I have a fake ID in the wallet and wanted to know if they have the right to search my wallet which would result in them finding the ID. If so,

could they actually arrest me for it?

Asked on June 4, 2017 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The police have the right to inspect the wallet. This inlcudes checking out the indentifation information contained in it. Think about it, how else can they reach out to the owner to ensure its proper return. Having a fake ID is a misdemeanor, a criminal offense. In PA, you can be charged with "Possession of False Identification Card" and it doesn’t matter whether you use the ID, you can still be charged. A conviction of possessing false identification as a summary offense carries a sentence of up to 90 days in jail and a $300 fine.

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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