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When Can Police Search My Vehicle or Property


The Fourth Amendment and Texas law protect individuals against unreasonable police searches and seizures. Understanding your legal rights when it comes to search and seizure procedures by the police can be confusing, particularly if the police try to manipulate or coerce you or overstep their authority by claiming they have the legal right to search you, your vehicle, or your property without your consent.

The Police Will Usually Need a Search Warrant to Search Your Vehicle or Property

In general, police usually need a valid search warrant to search you or your property. A warrant is an order from a judge authorizing the police to search for specific things at a specific time and place. The search warrant must include an affidavit by the police that must detail the circumstances and facts they believe creates probable cause for the search request. The circumstances and facts they need to include are as follows:

The specific crime the police believe you committed

Why the police believe that your vehicle or property they want to search is evidence of your crime

Why the police believe they can find evidence in your vehicle or property

It is important to note that a search warrant will be considered invalid and challengeable in court if the police lied about anything in their affidavit or the warrant doesn’t clearly establish probable cause.

There Are Exceptions to The Search Warrant Requirement

Police don’t always require a warrant to search for criminal evidence, which means that the police can search your vehicle or property under certain circumstances. A warrantless search will not violate your Fourth Amendment rights and will be considered lawful if:

  • You gave the police permission to search your vehicle or property
  • The evidence was clearly in plain view
  • The search was part of a lawful arrest
  • The evidence was located in a particular place where privacy is not usually or reasonably expected
  • The police that searched your vehicle or property had probable cause
  • The police reasonably believed there were exigent circumstances, which required them to conduct a search to prevent the destruction of evidence

What You Should Know About The Exclusionary Rule

If the police found evidence against you without a warrant exception or search warrant, it may be considered an unlawful search. Unlawful searches are penalized with the exclusionary rule, which entails the exclusion of the evidence found by the police. In this situation, your San Antonio criminal defense attorney can file a motion to suppress the evidence.

Seek Legal Help From a Skilled San Antonio Criminal Defense Attorney Now

Keep in mind that you have the legal right to be free from unreasonable police searches and seizures. To be safe, talk to your lawyer first before you consent to a search. Also, you should contact a San Antonio criminal defense attorney right away if you believe the police have conducted an unlawful search and seizure and you’re being accused of a crime. Schedule your consultation with the San Antonio criminal defense attorney at Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda PLLC by calling 210-222-9132 or reaching us online.