Can the police search your car for not providing proof of insurance?

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Can the police search your car for not providing proof of insurance?

Pulled over “couldn’t see your plate”. My plate was visible and clean. Couldn’t provide poi and I refused to spend time looking for it cause I was running late, they removed me from my car and began searching my car. After they entered my car I forfeited a bag of marijuana. I’ve never been charged with anything before and I was alone.

Asked on February 2, 2012 under Criminal Law, Michigan

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Here is the issue. If the police had articulable suspicion to pull your car over and tell you the plate was not visible, then the police had the right to ask for insurance. If they asked and you refused and they had a suspicion something was amiss, they can ask you to step out of the vehicle and search your car. Here is the problem: you need to prove your plate was clean. If you can prove your plate was clean or visible, then your attorney will then seek to supress everything after as a result of it being the fruit of the poisonous tree. The poisonous tree being the illegal stop to begin with.


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