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What if the Police Illegally Search Your Vehicle?

If you suspect police illegally searched your vehicle, reach out to our Atlanta criminal defense attorneys right away.

If you get pulled over by law enforcement for a suspected traffic infraction, are stopped due to outstanding warrants, or if they appear at your home, where your car is parked, they may attempt to search your vehicle. Be aware of your rights in this situation, as they are likely to use evidence obtained from a search to file criminal charges against you. Our Atlanta criminal defense attorneys explain what to do in this situation and what constitutes an illegal vehicle search in Georgia.

Your Rights Regarding Vehicle Searches in Georgia

Uniformed police officers, detectives, and other law enforcement officials are subject to strict laws when it comes to conducting searches and seizures. Your rights in these matters are protected under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as well as under the Georgia Code of Criminal Procedure, which law enforcement officials and prosecutors must follow. Stipulations on conducting searches include:

  • Police are authorized to search you, your vehicle, or other property if they first obtain your consent;

  • If you refuse to consent to a search, they may search you or your vehicle if they have reasonable suspicion that you are actively engaged in criminal activity;

  • If you are a suspect in a criminal matter, the police may obtain a search warrant, but it must include stipulations regarding the search of your vehicle;

  • In conducting a vehicle search, they may seize items that may be used against you in criminal court proceedings.

Protecting Yourself Against an Illegal Search

If you are pulled over for a traffic violation, or if the police come to your home and your vehicle is parked outside, do not consent to a search. Unless they have reasonable suspicion, you are actively engaged in a crime or a warrant specifically authorizing them to conduct a vehicle search, they must comply with your wishes. Unfortunately, they may insist on doing it anyway, and there is not much you can do to stop them.

If they do an illegal vehicle search and find evidence of criminal activity, they may claim that the ends justify the means. This is not the case. To protect yourself in this situation, reach out to our Atlanta criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible. Steps we can take on your behalf include:

  • Using the fact that evidence was obtained through an illegal vehicle search to negotiate getting your charges dropped or reduced;

  • Filing a motion to suppress the evidence, as authorized under Section 17-5-30 of the Georgia Code;

  • If the evidence was used against you to obtain a conviction, filing an appeal and a possible civil lawsuit.

Contact Our Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorneys Today

To protect your rights in the event of an illegal vehicle search, reach out to Ghanayem & Rayasam right away. Call or contact us online and request a consultation with our Atlanta criminal defense attorneys today.