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Can a police officer legally search my wallet after giving me an MIP ?

Palo Alto, CA |

I received a minor in possession on my college campus . After giving me the MIP , the police officer then asked to see my wallet , and found a fake ID in it , and so also charged me with possession of false identification . I now know that because I consented to this search of my wallet , it was a perfectly legal search , but if I had refused , would I have the legal right to do so ? Or would such a search of my wallet even if I didn't consent be legal as a search incident to lawful arrest ?

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Attorney answers 3


Since you gave consent it was legal. However in the future never consent to any search ever. Had you not consented to the search an argument could have been made for an illegal search but that ship has sailed.
Robert Driessen

Mr. Driessen is a former Deputy DA in Orange County with over 8 years of criminal law experience. Nothing stated on this site shall in anyway be construed as legal advice, or as creating any attorney client relationship. If you would like to hire Mr. Driessen, feel free to contact him at


I agree with my colleague. Additionally, if you were just given a ticket, you were not arrested. Since it doesn't sound like you were arrested, there can be no search incident to arrest.

The fact that I have answered this question does not establish an attorney client relationship between the questioner and my self or my office. For a FREE consultation, contact me at (626) 600-1439.


My colleagues are correct- you gave the officer permission to search, which would otherwise been illegal, since you were not arrested.

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