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In the United States if a person is stopped they can NOT search your car without a warrant unless you consent, however if they suspect something they can. If anything is found they will have to prove that they had "just cause" without a warrant or consent or it will be thrown out. I worked in the Law Enforcement field for several years. Tried to make it as short, simple & to the point as I could. Hope it helps.

The most important thing about this question is what country you are referring to.

It depends upon the laws of the state, the reason the person was stopped and if the officer(s) had "just cause". The terms "just cause" or "suspicion of probability" can carry a broad legal definition. Therefore, the police can search a vehicle without permission. Whether anything found can be used as evidence in court is a different matter.


This is a question that I have been frequently asked. As previously stated, Laws vary from state to state, however all states must comply with the US Constitution in regards to the Fourth Amendment. The fourth amendment, to paraphrase, basically protects a person's right to be secure in their property and person, papers. Consent to search is needed for all vehicular searches unless exigent circumstance exists. The US Supreme Court recognizes and exception to the search warrant requirement in vehicles that a search extending only to a container within an automobile, may search the container without a warrant where they have probable cause to believe that it holds contraband or evidence. Carroll v. United States, 267 U.S. 132 -- in which the Court held that a warrant less search of an automobile, based upon probable cause to believe that the vehicle contained evidence of crime in the light of an exigency arising out of the vehicle's likely disappearance, did not contravene the Fourth Amendment's Warrant Clause -- provides one rule to govern all automobile searches. Separate doctrines have per warrantless search of an automobile to include a search of closed containers found inside the car when there is probable cause to search the vehicle, United States v. Ross, 456 U.S. 798, but warrantless warrantless search of a closed container located in a moving vehicle when there is probable cause to search only the container, Arkansas v. Sanders, 442 U.S. 753 Of course in some states and in particular the State of Indiana, a certified Police K-9 is considered probable cause to search a vehicle without a warrant, That is if the K9 indicated to the presence of a contra band substance. Hope this helps. SlyK9--- Sorry, Terry V Ohio is the basis of a frisk or a open hand pat down of a person for weapons the case started when an officer stopped a person standing near a jewellery store, where a robbery had occurred. The officer used flat open hands to pat down the suspect before questioning, to determine if the suspect had any weapons. A terry pat is for WEAPONS ONLY ON A PERSON!! It has nothing to do with a car search. Aside from that, "plain sight" probable cause will always allow a vehicle search, but only within the reasonable area that the occupant can reach. From there, a car can be towed, where an "inventory search" is performed. If contraband is found, a warrant will be issued for the search of the car, while it is impounded. So True. Sorry had the two mixed up for a moment. YES, if he/she has probable cause. But if they don't have a warrant then you can say no but odds are is that if they know you did something they will be getting that warrant soon. A K-9 alerting on a vehicle is considered by the Court to be probable cause. The Dog is tested and certified by the court to be reliable.


In the UK a police officer can stop and search a vehicle without consent (and therefore without warrant) under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000. (The article also allows for the officer to stop and search/question any person). If a person is arrested for a crime in or near their vehicle then it may again be searched without consent.



Stop the car in a safe place as quickly as possible. Turn off the car, turn on the internal light, open the window part way and place your hands on the wheel.

Upon request, show police your driver's license, registration and proof of insurance.

If an officer or Immigration agent asks to look inside your car, you can refuse to consent to the search and ask for a warrant. But if police believe your car contains evidence of a crime, your car can be searched without your consent.

Both drivers and passengers have the right to remain silent. If you are a passenger, you can ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, sit silently or calmly leave. Even if the officer says no, you have the right to remain silent.

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โˆ™ 2011-04-10 00:22:11
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Q: Can a cop search your vehicle without your consent?
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Related questions

Can a cop search your vehicle without written consent?

Certainly. In many cases written consent would be difficult.

Can a cop search your parked car without consent?

yes a cop has the responsibility to search a park vehicle if he has visible evidence that something illegal is present in your car. as for your home he has to have a warrant unless in the same case visible evidence is in plain sight..

In kansas Can a cop search your vehicle without your consent?

If he has probable cause to believe that a crime was committed, is being or will be committed, yes. That's true in any state.

Can a cop search your trunk without consent?

Virtually any item can be searched with probable cause.

Can a cop seach your vehicle without a search warrant?

YES- its called probable cause

Can a cop search your vehicle without consent in Florida and am I protected by Florida State Laws from a consentless search if I was pulled over for speeding or for other reasons?

A police officer must have either your consent, a warrent, or probable cause to search your vehicle - probable cause to search can include everything from a partially hidden weapon (gun), blood, body parts to just the cap of a alcohol container sticking up from a seat.

Can a cop search your car without a warrant?

A cop can search your car without a warrant if he has your consent or if there's probable cause to believe you have something illegal hidden inside. They can also look inside to see if something illegal happens to be in plain view.

Can a traffic infraction give a cop probable cause to search your vehicle alone in Florida state law?

No. Unless you are being arrested or give the officer consent to search the car a simple traffic infraction alone does not give the right to search a vehicle.

Can a cop search an abondon vehicle?


Is it legal for a cop to search a car based off the driver's consent but the only owner of the car was in the passenger seat and not informed about the search whatsoever?

The operator of the vehicle (driver) is legally responsible for the contents of the vehicle and can give consent to search the vehicle. As long as the consent was given voluntarily, not coerced, and the person consenting has actual or apparent authority over the vehicle. This is considered a "third-party consent scenario." The third-party driver of the vehicle can consent to a search while the owner is present as a passenger. Rodriguez, 497 U.S. at 186. A critical factor to consider is whether the owner/passenger objected to the search.So the question is: Did the owner/passenger object to the search?" If not, I don't think the owner has an argument.

Can a cop search your vehicle with out consent in north carolina?

If he has grounds to search (ie - he believes you may have something hidden like a weapon or drugs) - he doesn't need your consent !Added: Or sees, or smells something.

Can a cop enter you house without a warrant?


Can a cop open your car door without consent?

If they can establish reasonable cause.

Can a cop search a person without searc warrant?

Answer for US Only- Yes of course. There are many, many, many circumstances under which a cop can lawfully search in individual without a search warrant. Many times, the search may not be called search, but for the person being searched, it is nonetheless a search. Furthermore, during the search, unlike TV shows, the cop is not required to read you your rights.

How to get drug charge dropped when cop searchs a car without permission?

If a vehicle is searched without the permission of the owner, the officer must have some other justification for the search. This can be probable cause, search incident to arrest of an occupant, inventory prior to towing, abandoned vehicle, or other reasons. If you can show that none of the these circumstances existed when the search was made, you may be able to have the evidence obtained from the search suppressed in court.

What does a cop need to get a warrant?

A cop needs evidence and probable cause to get a search warrant. Any searches done without a warrant are illegal and will get the cop reprimanded.

Is it legal for a cop to search your vehicle if they have a written statement from 5 months prior saying there were stolen goods in that vehicle but you do not give them permission to search it?

Unlikely. Unless they have a search warrant. A five month window is clearly unreasonable.

Can a cop in Ontario Canada search your car without a warrant?

They regularly do when you cross the border. If you give them probable cause during a traffic stop, they will search. How ridiculous would it be for a cop to wake the judge to sign a warrant if the cop thought you had a stash under your seat?

Can a cop searh your trunk without your permission if he's looking for something?

no he needs a search warrant

Can a cop open your safe?

This would fall under search and seizure, assuming there is no consent. In most cases, they would need a warrant, although there are exceptions.

If the police detain a person with a weapon outside a car and search the car without asking is it an illegal search?

A cop is not allowed to search your car without consent UNLESS they suspect that illegal activities are going on inside the vehicle, such as an open container (alcohol) or illegal drugs. If they suspect that you are hiding something illegal, they legally (as police officers) have the right to search your vehicle, and detain you as they do it. If you had a BB gun outside and were talking to someone in a car, the officer might wonder what's going on, and suspicion (instincts) would tell him that something's up. The officer might think that the BB gun is going to be used to steal the guy's car. Anyway, if he suspected that the driver of the car and you were doing something illegal (possibly selling/distributing illegal drugs), he might decide to search the vehicle, at which point he has every right.

Can a cop search a parked car without the owner present and no warrant?

In order to search a vehicle, the police need consent, a warrant, or probable cause.If the police do not have any of those three, they cannot search the vehicle. If they do it anyway, anything found in the vehicle can be excluded from a criminal prosecution as illegally obtained evidence.Another View: No situation involving law enforcemnt activity can be answered with a generalized response. Every situation stands on its own. It may be lawful. Like many things concerning 'the law,' it depends on the situation existing at the time of the search.

Can a child at 16 drop out of school without parental consent in Washington DC?

Yes. You can always ask an administrator, or cop to verify.

Can a cop search your engine when the hood is open without your consent?

no they shouldn't be able to....unless they think your doing something unusual or suspicious. they can pull over and see if you need help but they do not have the right to search your engine. its a violation of amedment 8 on the bill of rights

Is a cop allowed to search your cell phone?

Totally! He is a cop =D