Under the Fourth Amendment in the US and New York State Constitution, as most Criminal Lawyer Buffalo NY learned in law school, the government is prohibited from unreasonable searches and seizures. Although the general rule is that police cannot search your vehicle without a warrant or your consent, there are so many exceptions that some scholars, paradoxically, argue the general rule has become the stated exception. In other words, in practice, it appears that police have many ways of justifying a vehicle search, even when the basis is at least somewhat dubious.
So, on a very general level, police have the authority to search a vehicle in three circumstances which, as any Criminal Lawyer Buffalo NY would know, covers many different situations: (1) warrant search; (2) consent search; (3) search conducted without a warrant or consent, but some other “exception” to the rule applies which provides police with the authority to conduct a vehicle search.
Oftentimes, police will attempt to justify a search on the basis of one or more of these three categories. At times, the arguments can become very nuanced. For more questions, contact Andrew Tabashneck attorney for a free consultation.