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Can A Cop Search My Vehicle If I Was Stopped For A Broken Taillight?

  • By: Jordan Precht
  • Published: February 2, 2021

When pulled over during a traffic stop, it is essential to be familiar with your rights and know the police officer’s boundaries. If you suspect that these rights have been breached in any way, contact a Criminal Defense Attorney in Lafayette, LA, immediately. You may not always be aware of what you are entitled to depending on your unique situation. Still, if you were pulled over for a traffic violation and further criminal charges resulted, you may be in a position to file a claim.

If you were pulled over for a minor traffic violation like speeding or a faulty taillight, there is no cause for the officer to search the vehicle. If a routine traffic stop has occurred and there is no probable cause to search the car, it is a violation of your fourth amendment rights. During the stop, only a few factors can lead to a lawful search of the vehicle. These can include an odor of an illegal substance, illegal substances like alcohol in the open, or illegal weapons visible from outside of the car.

If the officer pulls you over for a valid violation, that does not constitute cause to search the vehicle. If you become flustered and an unlawful search occurs, contact a Lafayette, LA, Criminal Defense Attorney immediately to review the situation and go over your options. It is important to stay calm during a routine traffic stop in order to avoid making the problem worse or possibly incriminating yourself. Even if an officer is merely suspicious of you, that does not qualify as reasonable suspicion and will not allow a search of the vehicle.

However, just being aware of your rights and the definition of reasonable suspicion is not adequate. There are guidelines to follow during a traffic stop to help ensure the interaction goes smoothly and is not worsened for either party. If you feel like your rights have been violated, or your vehicle was searched without reasonable cause, it is vital to call a Criminal Defense Attorney. If you want to avoid this situation altogether, though, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Above all, it is crucial to remain composed and calm during any interaction with an officer. This only becomes more important during a routine traffic stop. Keep your hands visible, turn the car off, and place the keys on the dash of the vehicle. If you begin with this baseline, the interaction should occur smoothly and without any unexpected action.

It is also important to be respectful to the officer and inform them before you reach for anything. If you are asked to retrieve paperwork, notify the officer of its location in the car and ensure that all movements are slow and steady. Remembering these small details of interaction will increase your chances of concluding the stop without incident and being able to carry on with as little penalty as possible.

Unless specifically asked a question, it is vital to remain silent and calm. If you are asked a direct question, comply, but do not give any more information than necessary. Sometimes officers will use trickery to get you comfortable or flustered in order to get you to slip up. By remaining level-headed and quiet, you avoid the risk of incriminating yourself accidentally consenting to a search of the vehicle.

The officer may ask your permission to search the vehicle even if they do not possess reasonable suspicion. Without an explicit warrant, you are not compelled nor obligated to consent to this request. If you felt threatened into taking this action, contact a Criminal Defense Attorney immediately and take action for this injustice. You may also be asked to step out of the vehicle for further communication with the officer. If this occurs, it does not mean they are allowed to search the car. You are compelled to comply with this order but do not have to consent to a search. The officer may pat you down to ensure you are not carrying a weapon but may not conduct any further investigations. In this scenario, it is in your best interest to remain calm and respectful while complying with the request without protest.

During any interaction with an officer of the law, it is vital to understand and remember all of your rights as a citizen. Unless you have incriminated yourself or provided the officer with cause for reasonable suspicion, no search of your vehicle should be warranted. If you suspect your rights have been violated in this regard, the next step should be to seek council. In Lafayette, LA, seek a Criminal Defense Attorney and present your situation’s details and inquire about the possible outcomes for your circumstances. Call the Law Firm of Jordan Precht with any questions or concerns you may have to claim your complimentary strategy session today.

Jordan Precht

The founder of the Precht Law Firm, Jordan T. Precht
has gained expertise in several areas of law, including
criminal defense, DUI, personal injury...Read More