Imagine if the police could flag down any driver they wanted and go through their car. It could become so frustrating and upsetting that you ditch the car altogether and travel everywhere by public transport.
Thankfully, you have rights as a motorist. If the police want to search your vehicle, they can only do so in certain circumstances. They include situations where:
You permit them
An officer may say, “Hi sir, you don’t mind if I take a look in your car, do you?” If you reply with,” Of course not, officer,” you have just given the police the permission they need. You have every right to refuse, and typically it is in your best interests to refuse, even if you have nothing to hide.
They have a search warrant
Provided the search warrant contains the correct vehicle details and is signed by a judge, you need to let the police go ahead. If there are any errors or it lacks the signature, tell them to come back once they have sorted their warrant out. Then get urgent legal help to work out what to do next.
They have probable cause
If the police notice something that suggests you have engaged in criminal activity, they can search your car for evidence. So, a packet of drugs on the back seat, a blood-stained knife on the floor, or a latex Ronald Reagan mask matching the one used in a bank robbery half an hour earlier could all mean you need to let them proceed.
If the police arrest you on drug charges after searching your vehicle, you have the right to get legal help. Using it is the best chance to protect your freedom.