Who has the right to give permission for a car to be searched ata routine traffic stop?

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Who has the right to give permission for a car to be searched ata routine traffic stop?

If you are stopped in a routine traffic stop and the driver is not the registered owner, nor is the registered present in the car, who has the right to say the car can be searched? Also, is it probable cause for the cops to search the car just because they say that I fit the description of someone that robbed someone the day before?

Asked on May 17, 2011 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If permission is given, probably cause does not even enter into the equation; with permission, the police may search.

For a definitive answer to the question you pose, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney who can evaluate all the details and circumstances in depth. As a general matter, the person who is given permission to drive a car should be able to consent to its search. That person is at that time lawfully in control of the car: he or she can decide where to drive it, whom to pick up or give a ride to--and also, whether to allow the police to search it. So while you should consult with a defense attorney to be sure, the probable answer is that a permitted driver can consent to the car being searched while the car is in the control of that driver.


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