If a police search of your vehicle has resulted in your arrest, then you may be wondering what your options are in your case. That greatly depends on whether the search of your car was lawful in the first place. If it wasn't, then any of the potentially incriminating evidence that law enforcement seized may be able to be suppressed. That's why it's important that you know when police can lawfully search your car.
Virtually every one of us is protected from unlawful searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. There are some exceptions to this rule though.
Police are generally entitled to search your vehicle if you give them your consent to do so. They can also search it if they have probable cause or reason to believe that you may have something of evidentiary value inside your vehicle. Law enforcement may also be able to lawfully search your car if they believe that something that could endanger their life, such as a weapon, could be inside.
Law enforcement officers may generally also search your vehicle after you've been arrested, provided that they're doing it to see if you have anything else in your vehicle related to the reason that you were taken into custody in the first place.
Another instance in which police can lawfully search your car is after they've impounded it. It doesn't matter why they've towed it away in such instances either. It could be for a car theft investigation or because you've racked up too many unpaid parking tickets. Police can search your vehicle as thoroughly as they want including going inside of glove boxes in such instances.
One of the first questions that lawyers often ask their clients when trying to come up with a defense strategy in their case is about the events that led up to their car being searched. This can prove to be critical information as a criminal defense attorney builds a case here in Corpus Christi. It may make the difference between whether Texas prosecutors have enough evidence to prove their case or you go free.