Is being parked on the side of the road with your hazards on enough for probable cause to be searched?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is being parked on the side of the road with your hazards on enough for probable cause to be searched?

I pulled over quickly and through my hazards to retrieve a lit cigarette that I accidentally dropped onto my floor, this happens all the time. This time when I looked up after finding said cigarette I saw the cop about a block away still. I was there parked for maybe a minute before I saw him. He puts his spot light on me and pulled me over. Now the interesting part is he said on the police report that he pulled me over because I was

Asked on November 19, 2018 under Criminal Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it can provide probable cause, since it is not uncommon for peope who are impaired in some way to pull off and park on the side of the road. Hazards can also indicate some other kind of distress or problem. So pulling off and parking with them can provide a basis for the officer to stop you and check out the situation, and if there is no other readily discrenable cause, it may be reasoanble to assume (especially depending on your demeanor) that intoxication is involved. You are unlikey to get the stop or charges thrown out on this bassi.

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