Can the police search my car without asking me? 18 Answers as of March 11, 2013

My daughter took my car in the middle of the night without asking and she does not have a permit or license. She is 15. Police were called to a neighborhood where it was parked, asked her if it was 'ok' to search the car. She had not been drinking. It seems like my 4th amendment rights were violated.

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The Law Offices of John J. Carney Esq.
The Law Offices of John J. Carney Esq. | John J. Carney
The police can search a car if they smell pot, get consent (very likely she gave consent), had probable cause, made an arrest, or got a warrant. If they could arrest a person for a crime, not just a traffic ticket then they can do an "inventory search."
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 3/11/2013
Lawrence Lewis
Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
You as the parent think your 4th amendment rights were violated by the police searching a vehicle in the middle of the night where you were no where in sight. 4th amendment right are individual rights. IF you were not present, you cannot raise a 4th amendment challenge.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 1/24/2013
Timothy J. Thill P.C.
Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
Were you arrested for possession of something. I doubt it, but if you were, hire an attorney to file a Motion to Suppress unlawfully seized property. If not charged, forget about it.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 1/21/2013
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
Nope. She can say OK to the search request.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/21/2013
Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Seth L. Reszko
The police have greater rights to search a vehicle than a home. I don't think you will have a successful argument that your daughter could not give consent to search the vehicle. As a result, the police search of the vehicle will probably be deemed legal. I don't know what they found in the vehicle. As a result, whether the evidence the police found in the vehicle can be excluded will depend on what probable cause they had to search the vehicle. I would recommend hiring an attorney if you don't already have one and can afford one. Otherwise, if you cannot afford an attorney, the Court will appoint one for you.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 1/21/2013
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    Your daughter was in control of your car so she seemingly had right to consent to the search. OR, even if she "stole" the car, they could search because it was the scene of a crime. OR, if they were going to have it towed, then they have the right to search the car for inventory purposes. Not much of a chance on winning a claim against this search.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/21/2013
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Well it could have been impounded for being part of a crime and then they could have done an inventory search. The crime of driving with out a license.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/21/2013
    William L. Welch, III Attorney | William L. Welch, III
    Yes, while consent is a way for the police to search when they don't have probable cause, as long as they have do have probable cause, then they may search. A judge would ultimately decide the issue.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 1/21/2013
    Natty Shafer Law
    Natty Shafer Law | Nathaniel Shafer
    If your daughter consented, then, yes, the police can search it.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 1/21/2013
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    No it wasn't. Your daughter stupidly gave the cops permission to search. It doesn't matter who owns the car. The person who was driving it gave permission, and cops acted reasonably by going on that. You have no case my friend.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/21/2013
    Amber Lunsford, Attorney at Law | Amber Lunsford
    If your daughter was in possession of the car and gave consent, the police may search it. However, you need to speak with an attorney in a private and confidential setting. There is a bigger conversation that needs to be had in order to determine the validity of the stop prior to her giving consent before an attorney can determine the legality of the search.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/21/2013
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Yes if they have sufficient probable cause, otherwise no without an informed consent.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/21/2013
    Edward D. Flint  PLLC
    Edward D. Flint PLLC | Edward D. Flint
    Generally, a person age 14 or older can waive their Constitutional rights and speak with police and consent to a search. Since she was in possession of the vehicle, either she consented, or because she was in possession of the vehicle illegally, the police searched it under the automobile exception to exigent circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 1/21/2013
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    Did your daughter give permission? Here is the deal, your rights were not violated, your daughter's may have been? But, if she gave permission, then the violation is non-existent. You could challenge that she did not own the car and had no right to give permission, that is a difficult argument but since she is a minor, you may get some traction. However - did the cops find anything? If the answer is no, you have nothing to gain. You will spend a lot of money to try to make a point that you may or may not win and even if you do win, you get minor satisfaction and they will never apologize. If you or your daughter were charged with possession of contraband - that is a whole new story.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/21/2013
    Law Offices of Donald G. Sowers
    Law Offices of Donald G. Sowers | Donald G. Sowers
    Under the Fourth Amendment we have the right to be free from unreasonable searches & seizures. If your daughter gave them permission to search the vehicle, then the police acted reasonably. What you don't say is if she actually gave them permission, or if any contraband was found, or whether or not she was arrested. Also, an Inventory Search can be conducted prior to impounding the vehicle. Or if the officers had probable cause to believe that contraband was located in the car, such as smelling marijuana or finding other drugs on an occupant of the vehicle, then the entire vehicle could be searched even without any permission. It is good that you are posting a question to Law Q & A to better understand your rights. However, if she was arrested or if they found something illegal in the vehicle and you think they may contact you, do NOT speak to the police without first consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/21/2013
    Rivera Legal Group, PLLC
    Rivera Legal Group, PLLC | Victor Rivera
    Unfortunately, your 4th Amendment rights do not come into play because you were not the one is care, custody and control of the vehicle. If your daughter took your car and they asked her to search it and she said yes, it is a valid search. Anything found would be put on her since she was driving the car.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/21/2013
    Law Office of James E. Smith
    Law Office of James E. Smith | James Smith
    Unless your daughter was working for the police your rights were not violated.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 1/21/2013
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    You were not driving the car, your rights could not have been violated. Your daughter game permission to search.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 1/21/2013
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