What is the law regarding a police officers right to search someone?

I was talking on the phone with my mom when she reminded me that the license plate light was out. So I pull over into a parking lot and began fixing it. maybe 3 minutes later a sheriff pulls up, asks what I’m doing, and then gets out of his ccar and asked for ID. I handed him my ID. He said what seems to be the problem and when I told him I’m trying to fix my light, he immediately orders me against the vehicle so he can search me. He didn’t do a pat down, but immediately reached into all of my pockets, and found contraband. Granted I shouldn’t have had it, but he had no right whatsoever to search me. Can I beat this in court?

Asked on August 9, 2015 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Officers have the right to do basic patdowns.  They don't have the free and open ability to reach into your pockets without your consent.  If he didn't have probable cause and the officer didn't have your consent, then he conducted an illegal search.  If the seach is deemed illegal by the judge, then the main evidence agaisnt you would be thrown out.  So yes, under the facts you describe, you could ""beat this in court."

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Officers have the right to do basic patdowns.  They don't have the free and open ability to reach into your pockets without your consent.  If he didn't have probable cause and the officer didn't have your consent, then he conducted an illegal search.  If the seach is deemed illegal by the judge, then the main evidence agaisnt you would be thrown out.  So yes, under the facts you describe, you could ""beat this in court."


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