Better Call Glew: Can Cops Search Your Car Over A Speeding Ticket?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for bettercallglew.jpg
Jay Brockman
The other day I was pulled over by an OC Sheriff for speeding. When he came up to my car, he told me why he pulled me over and asked me to get out of my car. The cop then had me put my hands on the hood of my car and patted me down. He then looked around the inside of my car with his flashlight. He didn't really open anything or touch anything, he was just looking around. 

After, the search he didn't even write me a ticket and he let me get back into my car and leave.  Can a cop just pull you out of your car and search you and your car for a ticket? The cop even said I was not under arrest when he was searching me.  If I wasn't under arrest, then why did he do what he did?
You, my friend, were on the receiving end of what is known as a Terry search. The United States Supreme Court stated, in Terry v. Ohio, that if an officer has reason to believe he is dealing with an individual who may be armed, officers are allowed to conduct a pat down search of the individual for weapons. The search must be an open-palm pat down, of the exterior of a subject's clothing, and the officer must be able to articulate facts upon which the officer is basing his or her belief that an individual may be armed.

Further, as to the search of your vehicle, it sounds like the officer was again performing a protective sweep for weapons, which again, is legal, so long as the officer can articulate facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe that there may be weapons inside the vehicle.  

In your particular case, though, it sounds like the officer may have been overstepping his bounds, by performing a Terry search and protective sweep of your vehicle, as you indicated you were pulled over during the day. I am assuming you were alone in your vehicle since you did not mention anything about passengers being searched.

Given the fact that the stop occurred during the day, presumably, the officer would have a difficult time explaining why he was concerned for officer safety or why he thought you were armed, based upon what you have told me. Terry searches are a common tactic employed by law enforcement, to search for contraband, under the guise of a protective sweep. The best way to prepare for such an encounter is to not leave anything you would not want a police officer to find, in plain sight in your vehicle, or on your person.

Send all your questions to Glew at glewkimlaw@yahoo.com. 
Remember: Better Call Glew!
 
Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook! 

My Voice Nation Help
7 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
The One Time
The One Time

I will search you car and person anytime I feel it is necessary. Resistance is futile.

dow daytrader
dow daytrader

based on the info supplied by the question, the writer is completely wrong, a Terry Search does not apply in this instance, and the search is  without probable cause.  A good idea is to record the incident with video (just leave the camera running in the console of the car) then get a lawyer and a bit later, you will get a check from the gubbermint, cuz the search was illegal.  

Also, never give consent to answer any questions or give consent to any search.  Silently provide your ID through a crack in the window and shut up.  

"I do not consent to any police questioning/interrogation without an attorney present".  

BetaRayBill
BetaRayBill

I dont like cops very much. I have had nostly bad experiences with them. Most of them are just criminals in uniforms.  The only diference is that they hardly ever get pushed for their crimes.  Oh well.  I guess that is the price I have to pay for shaving my head. Also the are not heroes.

Guest
Guest

The officer searched the car with his flashlight. Obviously during the day.

That's why you don't ask legal advice from people like the author. Can't even read right!

Really?
Really?

Night/Day doesn't matter, I've taken a lot of guns off people, cars during daylight.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Be honest.... You were wearing a hoodie weren't you? 

tylerh
tylerh

best comment all day!

Now Trending

Anaheim Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Fashion

General

Loading...