When can an officer search your vehicle during a DWI stop and/or arrest? Under Maryland law, there are several instances where law enforcement officers can search your property, person or the immediate vicinity.
If an officer has probable cause to believe that there would be extra evidence in your vehicle, he or she may do so under the law. Probable cause may be established by:
- The odor of alcohol coming from the car or the driver
- A visible open container of alcohol in the vehicle
During a stop, the officer has the right to frisk a suspect, but only as it relates to his or her personal safety. During this so-called “Terry Stop” the officer is allowed to search for weapons only on the person of the suspect.
Search Incident to a Lawful Arrest
If you are arrested for DWI, the officer does not need a warrant to search your vehicle and the immediate area. Known as a Search Incident to a Lawful Arrest, the officer may look for any evidence that could be relevant in your case.
Every Stop is Different
It is important to note that many factors come into play with each encounter with law enforcement. No two stops are the same, and the evidence in each case must be weighed carefully in order to ensure that your rights were protected and that police followed proper protocol.
If you have been arrested for DWI and you have questions about what happened during the stop, contact Robinson & Associates today. We are ready to sit down for a no-obligation consultation with you to discuss the details of your case and how to best fight any pending charges.