if a cop searches your car, can they unwrap a wrapped present?

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if a cop searches your car, can they unwrap a wrapped present?

Asked on February 26, 2016 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

An officer can only search an automobile when they have consent or probable cause.  If you give an officer consent to search your entire car, then that would include wrapped packages.  If they have probably cause to search the entire car, then that could include the wrapped present.   Some jurisdictions will limit the right of officers to search locked containers... but a present would not be considered a locked container.
If the officer didn't have probable cause or consent to search a vehicle, then anything searched within the car would be an illegal search.


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