Police Search of Vehicle in North Carolina

Drivers in North Carolina may be stopped while driving when a police officer has reasonable suspicion to pull over the car for a number of driving violations. After a stop is made, the police may also ask to perform a search of the vehicle. A police officer may perform a warrantless search of this type only when the officer develops a further suspicion to investigate other violations of the law and obtains consent to search the vehicle. In addition, the search must be started in such a way that the driver is not detained for an unreasonable amount of time following the stop for the initial infraction. A consultation with North Carolina criminal lawyers will help drivers charged with infractions following a search of their car during a traffic stop to understand their future options.

In North Carolina, a police officer may request consent to search a car while in the middle of a traffic stop. This request for consent may only come once a police officer determines that there is an additional suspicion for criminal infractions beyond the scope of the initial traffic stop. North Carolina drivers may refuse to consent to a search. In addition, drivers may withdraw consent to search at any time. However, officers may uncover sufficient evidence before the consent is withdrawn to continue the search regardless.

Police officers may not detain a driver for longer than needed for the initial traffic stop. For example, if the driver has been stopped for non-working tail lights, the appropriate time of the traffic stop should be only long enough to serve a citation for the tail lights. Once this has been accomplished, the police officer may not detain the driver longer or ask for further information about the vehicle in order to try to find probable cause for a search of the car.

Dealing with a charge following a police search of your vehicle can be confusing. Wake County attorneys can sometimes challenge these charges when it is not completely clear that the search should have taken place. In addition, North Carolina criminal lawyers are of particular assistance when trying to determine if the length of time the driver was detained was unconstitutional or not. When faced with a charge resulting from a searched vehicle, it is critical to consult with North Carolina Criminal Lawyers to understand your future options.