What to Do If the Police in South Florida Ask to Search Your Car

It’s a dreaded scenario: flashing lights from a police car are in your rearview mirror – the officer demanding you pull over and stop. What’s happening?  Automatically, it becomes a tense situation. Should you immediately put your hands up? Should you stay in the car? The scene evokes many emotions and even more – questions. Piotrowski Law has answers.

Police Ask to Search Your Car
Policeman giving driver speeding ticket

An Experienced Attorney Can Help You After a Police Officer Pulls You Over

Piotrowski Law is a boutique Criminal Defense & Medical Marijuana law practice based in Miami, with offices also in Broward County and Palm Beach County. We cater to criminal defense clients. We’re on your side, and we have lots of experience successfully defending clients in these potentially explosive situations.

A police officer may have pulled you over for a number of reasons. Here are some examples: Were you driving recklessly? Did you run a red light? Were you fleeing or eluding a police officer? Was there some other reason an officer pulled you over? But for reasons aside, now you’re in a situation and an officer wants to search your vehicle. What should you do?

Know Your Rights When an Officer Pulls You Over and Wants to Search Your Vehicle

First off, know the law. Know your rights. What are your rights when pulled over by police for a search?   It goes without saying that those in authority should treat everyone fairly. But as we know, that doesn’t always happen, and every traffic stop has the potential to go awry. Here’s what you should do when an officer pulls you over:

  • Stay calm
  • Do not argue, resist, or obstruct the officer
  • Keep your hands where the officer can see them
  • Do not reach for anything unless the officer makes a request
  • You and your passenger(s) have the right to remain silent

Remember, if an officer orders you out of your vehicle, legally- you must comply.  

Does the Officer Need a Warrant to Search my Vehicle?Police Ask to Search Your Car

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits police officers from conducting an unreasonable search and seizure. Under Florida law, a police officer can search your car without a warrant and without your consent. Probable cause comes into view here. Here are the elements that need to be met, under Florida Statue 933.07:

  • If the officer has probable cause to believe the car has some contraband or drugs

So yes—if the officer smells marijuana, for example, this gives him or her probable cause to search you and your entire car- including the trunk.

  • Someone in the car has been arrested
  • Emergency or exigent circumstances: a threat to public safety or loss of evidence

Piotrowski Law Will Fight Tirelessly for You

Probable cause is a crucial part of criminal law and you need to work with an experienced Miami criminal lawyer when fighting cases that involve a warrantless search.  Chad Piotrowski and his experienced legal team will fight tirelessly for you.

If police in South Florida ask to search your car, contact Piotrowski Law at (305)-204-5000 immediately.  We can give you advice in real time. If the police already searched your car, we can still fight the search after the fact.  Police make mistakes and we’ll hold them accountable and fight to have the evidence thrown out and your case dismissed. Call to make an appointment for a free, confidential consultation. We have law offices near you -in Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County. We’re ready to defend you!