Whether commuting to work, driving home from a restaurant or taking your kids to school, you do not want to see flashing lights in your rearview mirror. Still, police pull over many motorists in Onondaga County virtually every day. For most drivers, the incident is a minor inconvenience. If you have an unlicensed weapon, illegal drugs or evidence of criminal activity inside your vehicle, however, an otherwise ordinary stop may have significant legal consequences.
When an officer asks to search your vehicle, you may wonder if he or she has a legal right to do so. That is, can you refuse to allow an officer to look inside your vehicle? As with all searches and seizures, the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires automobile searches to be reasonable. When police seek to search a vehicle, though, special rules apply.