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Did a police officer perform a legitimate search of your vehicle?

Getting arrested can throw anyone's life off balance. Even if an officer took you into custody and you obtained a release through bail or bond, it does not mean that your situation is at an end. You likely have future court dates to attend, and it may be in your best interests to work on your criminal defense presentation in the meantime. 

You may think that you have little chance of reaching a favorable outcome for your case because police officers found illegal substances in your vehicle. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that officers do not always follow proper procedures, and any mistakes they make could put the admissibility of the evidence against you into question.

Did officers legally search your vehicle?

Before your arrest, a police officer may have stopped your vehicle for a relatively minor violation, such as speeding slightly over the limit or having a broken brake light. However, the officer may not have stopped at writing you a ticket for the violation. Something may have raised the officer's suspicions, and as a result, you may have faced additional questions and, ultimately, a vehicle search.

The search resulted in the officer uncovering contraband, and now, you wonder whether the investigation may have violated your rights. To determine whether a violation may have occurred, consider the following questions:

  • Did you give the officer permission to search your vehicle?
  • Did the officer believe that you had a weapon or that other circumstances existed that put the officer in possible danger?
  • Did the officer have probable cause to search your vehicle, such as seeing illegal substances in plain view?
  • Did the officer have a valid warrant to search your vehicle?
  • Did the officer place you under arrest for drug possession and then search your vehicle for additional evidence?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, the officer likely conducted a valid search. However, if you did not consent and do not believe the officer had any legitimate reason to perform the search, you may have reason to look into the matter further.

A legal ally could help

Because you, like most other Texas residents, probably do not have extensive knowledge of proper police procedures, it is wise to gain additional insight into the vehicle search. A legal ally could help you go over the incident that led to your arrest, the officer's actions and your available options in hopes of finding the best defense for your case.

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