Is having a prior conviction for drug’s enough for probable cause to search your vehicle if an officer has asked and you said no

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Is having a prior conviction for drug’s enough for probable cause to search your vehicle if an officer has asked and you said no

Already have a prior drugs
charge from several years
ago

Asked on July 1, 2018 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, a prior drug conviction does NOT provide probable cause. Probable cause is based on evidence of an offense *now*--not whether you violated the law previously. In U.S. law, past offenses are specifically not held against you absent special circumstances, when they can be used for limited purposes at trial (e.g. showing a similarity of technique; showing an ongoing conspiracy), but do not provide the basis for a search. And anyone has a right to refuse a search unless there is a warrant or one of the limited warrantless exceptions--which again, do not include prior convictions--applies.


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