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Do Police Automatically Have The Right To Search My Vehicle?

No. Police and other authorities in Northern Kentucky can search your vehicle only if one of the following occurs:
  1. Probable Cause: The police may search your vehicle if they have probable cause to believe there is illegal contraband in your vehicle. For example, if they smell marijuana they can search to find the contraband.
  2. Consent: The police will often ask for your permission to search the vehicle. Many citizens do not realize that they have the right to refuse to grant that permission. The refusal to allow a search is not a basis for gaining probable cause.
  3. Plain sight: The police can search and seize items that they can plainly view from outside of the vehicle. If you have a gun or drugs on the seat, they can then search the vehicle.
  4. Search incident to arrest: This is limited to your immediate surroundings. If the office is placing you under arrest, he can search your immediate surroundings to protect himself from a weapon.
  5. Inventory: An impound lot may inventory your vehicle.  It is important to know that the inventory must be a regular and customary practice for every vehicle.  They cannot just pick and choose.
  6. Search Warrant: The police may obtain a search warrant from a judge. They must have a reasonable basis to obtain the search warrant.

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