SC Law Blog

Welcome to the South Carolina Law Blog where there is open discussion through feedback on hot legal topics in this state. Feel free to comment and/or suggest a topic to address.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Law Enforcement's Authority to do Automobile Searches

Have you experienced the seizure of illegal contraband or contents from your automobile? Article IV of the United States Constitution provides protection against unreasonable search and seizures. The aim of the Constitution is to protect against arbitrary and oppressive interference by law enforcement. Evidence that is obtained through an illegal search is not admissible in court.

An automobile search involves an investigation into the contents of a vehicle by a law enforcement officer and a seizure involves some significant interference with a person’s possessory interest in property. The Court will look at the scope of the search and the manner in which it was conducted to determine whether the search and seizure was proper.

A warrant is not always needed to conduct a search. But, for the automobile exception to the warrant requirement to apply, the police must have probable cause to search your vehicle.  For probable cause to exist, the police must have some reasonable basis or justification to believe that you or your passengers are involved in criminal activity.

Law enforcement is aware that many civilians are not aware of their legal rights. Therefore, they may conduct an illegal search and obtain evidence even without probable cause simply because you don’t object to the search. However, the court will throw out any evidence that is obtained in an illegal search.  This is known as the Fruit from the Poisonous Tree doctorine.

If you have experienced the seizure of illegal contraband or contents from your vehicle you may be able to have the evidence suppressed based on the illegality of the search. If the evidence is thrown out, you may escape jail time. Contact Daniel Selwa today to discuss the facts of your case. 

1 comment:

  1. Your website is very useful. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to more!