can the police search a padlocked container without consent or warrant

During a traffic stop can the
police search a locked container
without consent or warrant, can
they make me unlock it or can they
break the lock to search the

Asked on March 8, 2018 under Criminal Law, Tennessee


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

The police can search a vehicle without consent or a warrant as an inventory search.  Also, the vehicle can be searched including the locked bag due to exigent circumstances without consent or a warrant since the locked bag may have contained contraband or something that could harm the police or the public.  Exigent circumstances would allow the police to break the lock if you hadn't provided the key.
This was also a search incident to an arrest, a type of search that does not require consent or a search warrant.

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