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Consent Search of Vehicles

Posted by attorney Cy Abdo

The purpose of a search warrant is to offer the protections mandated by the Fourth

Amendment of the United States Constitution against unreasonable searches and seizures,which states:The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and nowarrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation,and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things tobe seized.The Fourth Amendment was originallyadded to the Constitution by way of the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights were added to theUnited States Constitution by our forefathers because they felt that the constitution, asoriginally written, did not provide citizens with enough protection from the government intrusions.

The police may stop your vehicle for a routing traffic matter. Under the circumstances, the police would not be entitled to search your car without a warrant based upon probable cause or an exception to the search warrant requirement. A warrant is not required if you consent to a search; thus relieving the police of the probable cause requirement. You may not realize but the police may be interested in searching your car for drugs or other contraband. You may be caught off guard and the police will use tactics to gain your consent to search your vehicle. If you consent, and the consent is voluntary, the police do not have to obtain a warrant to search. Any illegal evidence that is found in your possession would be used against you at trial. A valid consent involves the waiver of your 4th Amendment Constitutional rights. However, you may feel that you did not give a valid consent. You may have grounds to attack the search even if the police say that you gave consent. Your best bet is to ask any passengers or witnesses that were present to write a complete statement regarding the circumstances surrounding the consent and search. If you were alone in your vehicle at the time of the search, it may boil down to your word against the police. Your attorney may be able to defeat the search if the consent was obtained by threats or coersion. The prosecuting attorney has the burden to establish the voluntariness of the consent by direct and positive evidence.

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