If my 19 year old daughter was stopped at a DUI checkpoint and blew a .00, did the officer have the right to search her car?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If my 19 year old daughter was stopped at a DUI checkpoint and blew a .00, did the officer have the right to search her car?

She had driven someone home the night before and they left an open beer in her car. When the officer searched her car, he found it and gave her a misdemeanor ticket for minor possession and impounded her car for 30 days. Why did he search her car if she was not intoxicated? She said that he did not ask permission but told her that he was going to search the car.

Asked on September 3, 2016 under Criminal Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Generally, a vehicle can be searched if the officer has the driver's consent; has probable cause to believe there is evidence of a crime in the vehicle (i.e. illegal drugs); reasonably believes a search is necessary for their own protection (e.g. a hidden weapon); or has made an arrest and the search is related to that arrest (again drugs, weapons, etc. Additionally, vehicles can be stopped if an officer has a reasonable suspicion that the driver has violated a traffic law. If the reason for the stop is a minor offense such as speeding, the officer is generally not allowed to search a car without more reason. However, if the officer make an arrest for conduct arising out of a traffic stop, a search of a vehicle incident to arrest will usually be permitted. To be certain of your daughter's rights regarding the search and subsequent MIC, you should consult directly with a DUI attorney in the area of where the warrant was issued. They can use their local court contacts to her best advantage.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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