Was my search for a traffic stop lawful?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Was my search for a traffic stop lawful?

I was riding in the passenger seat with my friend who got pulled over for speeding. Immediately I was asked to step out of the car and was detained while they searched. I was heading to sleepover at a friend’s and they

searched my overnight bag and charged me with 3 misdemeanors. The cop said that he searched because he recognized my friend the driver from a while before when he found a pipe in his car and let him go. Does this give them the right to search his car and the right to search my property my bag despite my being

unrelated to the previous stop?

Asked on January 20, 2019 under Criminal Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, based on what you write, the search appears that it may be illegal. First, even if they recognized your friend from a prior drug case, that does not give them the right to search him again without either a warrant or without some immediate "exigency" or urgent situation, such as some reason to reasonably believe they need to search him to protect themselves from attack, save another person, or protect about-to-be-destroyed evidence. Being charged once is NOT a loss of your right to protection from unreasonable searches.
Second, even if they could search him, that does not extend to searching you barring the same factors as above (e.g. a warrant or some exigent circumstances).
Based on what you write, there appears to be a reasonable chance an attorney could get the search of you and any evidence from it thrown out.

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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