U.S. Capital

The Ability Of Police To Search A Vehicle Is Not Absolute

Jun 11, 2014

Lakeland, FL (Law Firm Newswire) June 11, 2014 – Deciding what constitutes a reasonable expectation of privacy revolves around two questions.

“The ability of the police to search automobiles is not absolute. However, if a court finds that evidence presented in court was taken during an unlawful search, the prosecution is barred from using it,” explains criminal defense attorney, Thomas C. Grajek.

A search happens when representatives of the government, such as police officers, invade an area where an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy. There are two questions involved in the determination of this expectation. Did the individual actually have in their mind such an expectation and would that mentally internalized expectation be reasonable to a non-involved third party?

There are some situations in which an individual can refuse to let their vehicle be searched. The police, or other agents, are not required to advise a person they have that right. If the person does agree to a search, the decision must be made without any undue pressure exerted by the police. “An individual may also restrict where an agent can search and you may change your mind once the search has begun,” adds Grajek.

If the police have probable cause to search a vehicle, they may do so without the driver giving permission. The probable cause would be related to the belief the vehicle had evidence relating to a crime. An example would be a driver pulled over for a traffic violation. The officer approaching the car may determine the individual looks like a suspect wanted for robbing a convenience store and notices several cartons of cigarettes in the backseat. This kind of a situation may create probable cause.

If an arrest is lawful, the arresting officer may search the person and the immediate area around that individual, which may include a vehicle. This is only permissible if the person is arrested. If the person is not arrested and the officer pulled them over to issue a citation, the car may not be searched.

“Vehicle searches are complex and it is best to understand the law and how it affects you. Speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer to find out what your rights are,” says Grajek.

Learn more at http://www.flcrimedefense.com/

Thomas C. Grajek
206 Easton Drive, Suite 102
Lakeland, FL 33803
Phone: 863.688.4606

View Larger Map

  • Florida judge allegedly punches public defender, what was the argument about?
    The story about Brevard County Judge John Murphy is all over social media recently.  The judge allegedly got into an argument with an assistant public defender during court proceedings which resulted in the judge punching the PD off camera.  The video can be seen here: http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/brevard-judge-accused-punching-public-defender/ngCGC/ But what was the fight really about?  The news reports state that it happened at a “first appearance” hearing.  This is probably inaccurate.  The court proceeding appeared to be “Arraignment” hearings and to understand why this lead to the argument, it helps to know the difference between the court proceedings.    What is the difference […]
  • Another Polk County prostitution sting results in 98 arrests in Polk Sheriff's "When Will You Learn" sting.
    Once again, Grady Judd and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office conducted another prostitution sting.  This four day operation was called “When Will You Learn” by the sheriff.  Almost 100 people were arrested.  The suspected “johns” arrested for solicitation of prostitution will be subject to the $5,000.00 “civil penalty” that was enacted last year if the plead guilty, no contest, or are found guilty at trial of the charge.  The fine is imposed whether the court withholds adjudication or adjudicates the person guilty. Due to the increased focus on human trafficking throughout the country, the sting was conducted to search for […]
  • Touch DNA May Change Conviction Rates in Criminal Offenses
    So-called “touch DNA” may be able to link an alleged suspect to a crime scene. A man in Jacksonville, Florida was accused of grand theft and organized fraud after touch DNA linked him to several crimes in 2013. Allegedly, the 71-year-old man scammed a woman who was taking cash out of an ATM. He showed the woman a folder that allegedly had cash in it and asked if she knew the location of the address on the front so he could return it. Just as she was about to speak, another man came along and indicated that he was familiar […]