Not always is a search warranted. Read on to find out when police can search your vehicle and what you should if an officer violated your rights and searched it anyway.
Being pulled over by a police officer in St. Petersburg, FL can be rather intimidating as we all know what officers are capable of doing. From brutal beatdowns to shooting unarmed suspects, police officers in Florida and all across the country have been recognized for acts of misconduct that often lead to the injury of another and sometimes even death. It’s no wonder why individuals become so worried and scared when they are pulled over by an officer for minor traffic infractions. Unfortunately, this fear often dominates most situations involving the police and most lose sight of what their rights even are when an officer demands he or she must search their vehicle.
Because there are so many drivers out there that are unaware of when a police officer is permitted to conduct a search of their vehicle, we are here to clear a few things up for you that will help you the next time you are pulled over or if an officer recently conducted an unlawful search of your car.
When can a FL police officer search my vehicle?
If an officer pulls you over, he or she “must have probable cause do so, “meaning [he or she has] a strong, unbiased, factual reason for believing that you have committed a traffic violation” [Source: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)]. Police officers cannot just pull you over because they feel like it or because of your race, gender, nationality, etc. Now, after a police officer has probable cause to pull a driver over, and sadly, not all do, he or she may request that you provide them with your license, registration, and proof of insurance.
During the time you are pulled over, the officer should not search your car, truck, or SUV, that is, unless they see something illegal in plain view, they have obtained a search warrant, or they believe you may be armed and dangerous, says the NAACP. To ensure the stop goes smoothly, it is best that after having been pulled over, you immediately turn off your engine and place your hands on the wheel. Never consent to a search. The moment you agree to allow an officer to search your vehicle the moment he or she is allowed to go through your things and invade your privacy.
What if a St. Petersburg, FL police officer searched my vehicle without my consent and no probable cause?
In the event you feel your rights were violated and the officer who pulled you over and searched your vehicle did not have viable grounds to do so, the police brutality attorneys at Karikas & Kasaris, P.A. are available to discuss with you some ways in which your issue can be addressed. As unfortunate as it is, police officers are often guilty of conducting unlawful searches of people and their property. While there isn’t much that can be done when this occurs as you don’t want to be accused of disobeying a police officer, you can do something after the fact and with the help of a St. Petersburg, FL police misconduct lawyer.
To find out how an attorney can help you recognize a police officer in St. Petersburg, FL, contact this firm today to receive a free case evaluation.
Karikas & Kasaris, P.A. is located at:
3624 1stAvenue North
St. Petersburg, FL 33713