If the driver is arrested for driving without a license and the vehicle owner is present, is it legal for police to search the vehicle without consent?

Asked on August 3, 2015 under Criminal Law, Florida


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The constitution protects citizens from unlawful searches and seizures. Accordingly, in order to perform the search of a car, the police need either a valid warrant or consent. There are, however, exceptions. First, if an officer has "probable cause" they may search a car; that is they have reason to believe the car contains evidence related to a crime. Second, when the police make a lawful arrest, an officer may search not only the arrested person but also the area immediately around that person. This can include the car that the person was traveling in just prior to the arrest (note - this only applies if the person is actually arrested).

If you have any further questions, you can contact a local criminal law attorney.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.