If the driver is arrested for driving without a license and the vehicle owner is present, is it legal for police to search the vehicle without consent?

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If the driver is arrested for driving without a license and the vehicle owner is present, is it legal for police to search the vehicle without consent?

Asked on August 3, 2015 under Criminal Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The constitution protects citizens from unlawful searches and seizures. Accordingly, in order to perform the search of a car, the police need either a valid warrant or consent. There are, however, exceptions. First, if an officer has "probable cause" they may search a car; that is they have reason to believe the car 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 that person. This can include the car that the person was traveling in just prior to the arrest (note - this only applies if the person is actually arrested).

If you have any further questions, you can contact a local criminal law attorney.


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