If I was a passenger in a car accident, what are my rights regarding a police search?

When the police arrived they asked for our information and then searched the car and looked through our bags and found a water pipe. I was charged for unlawful use of drug paraphamelia. I had no drugs, just the water pipe. By law, were they able to search through our things?

Asked on November 14, 2013 under Criminal Law, Missouri


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If they had probable cause to search (think cause of accident) and found the items, then yes they had a right. Your lawyer can argue that the drugs were not yours and simple possession of a water pipe is not illegal but it will be an uphill battle with the court. If you don't have any priors, then the chances may be better for you but this is assuming that no drugs were found in your system or the driver's.

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