If an officer wants to search a vehicle, does he need the owner’s consent or the operator, if both are present?

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If an officer wants to search a vehicle, does he need the owner’s consent or the operator, if both are present?

I arrived after the officer spoke with the operator but did not ask my consent to search which he did not do until after I arrived and the vehicle is in my name. also, is a store parking lot considered private property? This incident took place at a convience store while the car was parked at a gas pump.

Asked on October 6, 2012 under Criminal Law, Maryland

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country unless there is probable cause that a crime has occurred, or exigent circumstances, the vehicle needs to be impounded or it appears that the vehicle has been abandoned and needs to be inventoried, law enforcement needs permission from the owner or operator to search the automobile regardless if on or off private property.

Good question.


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