Your Fourth Amendment Rights: Search and Seizure at a Vehicle Stop

Aug 1, 2016 — by James E. Novak Attorney PLLC
Tags: Dui Criminal Law

A driver being arrested after a stop on the highwayAs a citizen of the United States, you have rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution. Among these rights is the right extended by the Fourth Amendment, which protects you from unreasonable search and seizure. Your Fourth Amendment rights extend to your vehicle, which police officers generally cannot search without a warrant except under certain circumstances. If DUI defense attorney James E. Novak is able to demonstrate that a search and seizure at the time of a vehicle stop was illegal, and that the police violated your Fourth Amendment rights, police procedure will come into question and any evidence illegally obtained will be thrown out by the judge. Indeed, the entire case against you may be called into question as a result.

As an expert in handling cases involving search and seizure rights at a stop, Phoenix, AZ DUI defense attorney James E. Novak has the experience, skill, and resources to present the strongest case possible on your behalf if your Fourth Amendment rights have been violated in the course of your being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Please contact The Law Office of James Novak today for an evaluation of your case.

How the Fourth Amendment Applies to Searches of Motor Vehicles

Although police officers are generally supposed to obtain a warrant to search vehicles, the enforcement of this requirement is less strict as it pertains to vehicles than as it pertains to homes. This is for several reasons, including that vehicles are mobile in nature and that people have lower expectations of privacy with respect to their vehicle than with respect to their homes.

Nevertheless, police officers cannot simply search a vehicle without a warrant on a hunch. There are certain exceptions to the warrant requirement in which a search of a vehicle can be considered legal. These exceptions include:

  • Searches that are incidental (in other words, that occur at the same time as) an arrest
  • Searches that occur after the owner of the vehicle provides consent
  • Cases in which the “plain view” doctrine comes into play; that is, the materials that compel a search, such as a firearm or a bag of marijuana, are visible to the officers without having to search
  • Searches conducted because police officers have reasonable cause to believe that a vehicle contained evidence of a crime that would likely disappear or be destroyed if they allow that vehicle to drive away without a search

Of course, if your vehicle was subject to a search and seizure during your DUI arrest, the state will argue that it was completely legal. James E. Novak will examine the facts of the case and the circumstances surrounding the search and seizure. If there are any holes in the state’s case, he will find them and fight vehemently to have any illegally obtained evidence thrown out of court.

Learn More about Your Fourth Amendment Rights

To learn more about your fourth amendment rights and arrange for an evaluation of your DUI case, please contact The Law Office of James Novak today.

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