If I was pulled over by the DEA for my tail light being out, did they have the right to search me and my vehicle without probable cause?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If I was pulled over by the DEA for my tail light being out, did they have the right to search me and my vehicle without probable cause?

Asked on November 21, 2014 under Criminal Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

No, being pulled over for a broken taillight would not, without more, give the authorities the right to search your vehicle or you. However, there are many circumstances under which they could search you:

1) There was a search warrant for you--as may have been, if the DEA (who don't normally get involved in traffic stops) was keeping an eye on you;

2) There was an arrest warrant (including a bench warrant, such as for non-appearance in court) for you;

3) You consented to the search--for example, they said, "we'd like to search your car" or something similar, and you either explicitly agreed, or acted in a way (nodding you head; getting out of the way so they could search; gesturing at them to continue; etc.) consistent with consent; or

4) you acted in some way suspicious (evasive, trying to hide something or moving it out of sight, etc.) which did provide probable cause.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption