If my carran out of gas and was left on the side of the road, was it legal for the highway patrol to search it?

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If my carran out of gas and was left on the side of the road, was it legal for the highway patrol to search it?

They found drug paraphernalia.

Asked on July 17, 2011 under Criminal Law, Ohio

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This question falls under the Constitutional issue of search and seizure.  Generally speaking, police need a search warrant to search property owned by an individual except in certain situations.  One of these exceptions has to do with automobile searches.  But always the police need what is known as probable cause for searches of any kind, even an automobile.   From what I can see Ohio has a slew of automobile search and seizure decisions in case law.  The cases are decided on  case by case basis as they are fact specific.  But the police need more than just being out of gas on the side of the road to search the car. It has been held that "the existence of probable cause must be judged by what was in the officer's mind at the time the decision to search the vehicle was made."  Please gte some legal advice in the area. 


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