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Vehicle Searches Related to DUI in Wheeling
When it comes to suspected impaired driving, law enforcement may search a person’s vehicle, but only under specific circumstances. Remember that the United States Constitution protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. Although your car’s privacy is not as strong as your home’s, you still have the right to expect privacy. This means that police cannot search your vehicle without a warrant or some other exception.
The most common exception is when officers search a vehicle after arresting the driver, believing they might find evidence of a crime. Another exception is a search related to the arrest. For instance, if an officer spots a sealed bottle of whiskey on the backseat floor, they can arrest the driver on suspicion of DUI and search the car.
In certain cases, police may believe that a search of your vehicle is necessary for their safety. For example, if they suspect you have a gun in your car.
It is important to note that if you give the police permission to search your car, they can indeed proceed with the search. However, it is generally not advisable to grant consent. If asked, it is better to refuse the search and exercise your Constitutional right to privacy.
If you are arrested for DUI, your car will be towed to an impound yard. Police may conduct a search of the vehicle during this process to take an inventory of its contents.
Always remember that you have a reasonable expectation of privacy in your car, truck, or SUV. Laws require police officers and state troopers to obtain warrants to search vehicles for a reason, and you are well within your rights to refuse warrantless searches. There are no legal consequences for asserting that the police cannot search your car without a warrant.
Please keep in mind that officers may legally detain you only for the time required to investigate the situation and issue a traffic ticket.
In certain circumstances, police officers may decide to bring a drug-sniffing dog to conduct a check around your vehicle. While this is considered permissible and not classified as a search, if you are made to wait excessively for the dog to arrive, it becomes an illegal situation as you have been detained for too long. In such a scenario, it is within your rights to request the judge to exclude any evidence found during the delay.
Should your vehicle be searched following an DUI arrest, or if you provided consent to a search upon request from the police, seeking the assistance of a reputable Wheeling WV DUI attorney like those at Mountaineer Criminal Law Group would be advantageous. With decades of combined experience in DUI defense, Sean Logue and his associates have undergone extensive training, successfully representing numerous clients. They have often achieved reduced or dismissed DUI charges in their clients’ cases.
Remember, if the police search your vehicle without a warrant, it may potentially be an illegal search. They must have a strong legal basis and a proper warrant. A defective warrant renders the search just as unlawful as conducting it without any warrant. A Wheeling WV criminal attorney well-versed in DUI defense can bring this matter to the court’s attention, resulting in any evidence gathered during the search being deemed inadmissible. However, for this to happen, your Wheeling WV DUI attorney must file a motion and present an argument at an evidentiary hearing.
Mountaineer Criminal Law Group offers complimentary initial consultations and round-the-clock access to the finest Wheeling WV criminal attorneys in the Tri-State area.
To schedule a free consultation, please call (304) 381-3656 or reach out to us online.
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