Skip to main content

Is there a difference between probable to stop and probable cause to search?

Chicago, IL |
Attorney answers 4


Yes, unless they are making an arrest. They cannot just stop for routine traffic stop and search without more, unless consent was provided.


I submit , yes. The "probable cause" is defined to that set of facts present then to justify the stop. Then, and only then, arises another set of facts that give rise to another "probable cause " to search the vehicle without a search warrant and without the owners consent. I need more facts, but in general, without an arrest, the officer needs a serach warrant. There are exceptions: contraband in plainview, if the officer has the lawful right to be where he is when he sees what he sees; evidence lawfullly gathered in a constitutional Terry v. Ohio "pat down search"; search incident to a lawful arrest; exigent circumstances related to the items seized, etc. Too many exceptions, all specific fact based. Hire a good criminal defense attorney to represent you.

I am trying to give you a general answer to your question. We do not have an attorney-client relationship by this response on the avvo website. I have not been retained to represent you. I am licensed to practice law in Kentucky and in federal court in this state and the Southern District of Indiana. You need to seek legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your area..


Yes, but more info is needed. Legal analysis is not simple math(2+2=4). Generalized questions can only yield a speculative answer. Then the questioner attempts to apply the speculation to their specific matter. Consultation with a seasoned criminal defense attorney is the best approach.

Of course, every answer is based on the question asked and requires a more complete context. This answer should not be relied upon to make a legal decision. Seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney before acting. Law Offices of Raymond G. Wigell, Ltd. Defenders of the Constitution since 1975/ Aggressive Creative Defense Strategies/ Website: 24/7 --(708) 481-4800.


Yes. Entirely different circumstances would give an officer probable cause to stop your car and probable cause to search your car. For example, an officer may see you zoom by and have probable cause to pull you over for speeding, but your zooming by does not give the officer probable cause to search your vehicle.

Determining whether your rights were violated will require a careful analysis of the specific facts of your case. You should consult a local attorney knowledgable in matters of criminal procedure.

Best of luck.

P.S. Here is a helpful resource put out by the ACLU for dealing with police. You might want to print this out and keep a copy in your wallet: