Must the police have consent in order to search a car that was stopped due to the driver being impaired?

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Must the police have consent in order to search a car that was stopped due to the driver being impaired?

I had my 20 year old cousin pick me up from a friend’s house. I was drinking and aperently she was too. She got pulled over, got underage citation, an OVI and a speeding ticket. I got an open container after the police searched the car but they did not ask to search it. If I brought that up in court, is there any chance that the would be dropped?

Asked on December 2, 2013 under Criminal Law, Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The police can search a car without consent.  The police had probable cause to search the car since the driver was impaired.  The police can search a car without a search warrant when there is probable cause (reasonable belief that criminal activity is afoot) because by the time the police return with a warrant, the car may be gone.  The police don't need a warrant for a search incident to an arrest. 

Your argument about the police searching the car without consent will be rejected by the court.


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