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Under what circumstances can a police officer search me, my purse, and my vehicle when he stops me?

San Francisco, CA |
Attorney answers 3


Your question is way to broad to be answered here.

When and how a person, their effects, and their car can be searched takes up half of a semester's long legal course in criminal procedure. I suggest you do a google search for "search and seizure" or ask a more fact specific question.


Unless you are on probation or parole, officer usually needs consent to search.


See my previous response to your same question. Generally, without a warrant the officer must have probable cause to search your person (including your purse) or vehicle. However, all the officer needs is a reasonable suspicion of crime to pat down the exterior of your clothing to make sure you have no weapons while the officer engages you. As I said to you before, if you are being charged with a crime for something the officer found during a search you should be speaking to an attorney in private about whether you can suppress the evidence. No one here can help you without more facts, which you should NOT disclose here. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint you a public defender. If you are not being charged with a crime, the only thing you can really do is complain to the officer's agency that he violated your rights, because the monetary award you may eventually receive by suing the officer would likely be very little and no attorney would probably take your case (that is assuming all the officer did was an improper search of you and your car without more egregious acts on the officer's behalf).

Michel & Associates, PC
(562) 216-4444

All my comments here are intended for general legal purposes. None of my comments here establish an attorney-client relationship with anyone. None of my comments should be relied on in taking legal action without first consulting an attorney.