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  1. #1
    crazylife Guest

    Question can cops search your car in tennessee w/out a reason?

    what is the name of your state? tennessee

    if you are pulled over in tennessee and a cop asks if they can search your car, do they have that right, assuming you dont have a record, you dont have visible drugs, weapons, etc, and there is not a smell of any illegal substances in your car. and if they cant search your car, what is the law that states this fact?
  2. #2
    Mike101 Guest
    A cop can ask to search your car. If they don't have PC they can't search it without your consent.
    The law that states this is the 4th Amendment.
  3. #3
    vikki40 Guest

    follow up question on this subject

    If the officials that search your car, based on their presumption of probable cause, do not find any reason to cite the owner of the vehicle, ie no illegal substance or activity found, does the official have to complete a report or some kind of documentation indicating that search and what they based the 'probable cause' on? Or does the probable cause have to be stated prior to the search?
    Last edited by vikki40; 05-06-2003 at 08:31 PM.
  4. #4
    hexeliebe Guest

    the quick and easy answer

    is no, they are not allowed to search your vehicle....but that isn't the whole story is it?

    Did you ask the office why you were stopped? Did they reply? What was the reason?

    If an officer stops you they have the right to protect themselves and conduct a "plain view" search of the vehicle. However, if there are no other reasons for a search incident to a custodial relationship, i.e., stopping you for a traffic violation, then they either need your permission to search the trunk, under the seats, etc...

    Now, since I'm in Tennessee I will tell you if you refuse they will simply hold you until they call the K-9 unit and conduct a sniff search and if the dog reacts, that's Probable Cause to conduct a search without your permission.
  5. #5
    Boxcarbill Guest

    Re: the quick and easy answer

    Originally posted by hexeliebe
    is no, they are not allowed to search your vehicle....but that isn't the whole story is it?

    Did you ask the office why you were stopped? Did they reply? What was the reason?

    If an officer stops you they have the right to protect themselves and conduct a "plain view" search of the vehicle. However, if there are no other reasons for a search incident to a custodial relationship, i.e., stopping you for a traffic violation, then they either need your permission to search the trunk, under the seats, etc...

    Now, since I'm in Tennessee I will tell you if you refuse they will simply hold you until they call the K-9 unit and conduct a sniff search and if the dog reacts, that's Probable Cause to conduct a search without your permission.
    I feel compelled to respond to this least some readers become confused and/or misled.

    First as Mike 101 correctly pointed out the legal authority is the fourth amendment in the U.S. constitution. As the ultimate and final interpreter of the U.S. constitution, the U.S.S.C. decisions regarding the constitution are controlling legal authority and trump all other state and federal law to the contrary.

    The forth amendment prohibits unreasonable search and seizure, Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 360 (1967). The seizure may be of an item, e.g. drugs, weapons, clothing, etc. or the seizure may be of a person--e.g. arrest or a mere temporary detention of a motorist for a traffic violation. The probable cause for stopping a motorist is frequently speeding or failing to obey some other traffic regulation. The police may also order the driver to step outside of the vehicle, Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U.S. 106 (1977).


    The plain view doctrine, however, has nothing to do with "protecting " the safety of police officers or others. The plain view doctrine permits police to seize an object without a warrant if they are lawfully in a position to view it, if its incriminating character is immediately apparent, and if they have a lawful right of access to it. So if illegal contraband is laying in the seat or on the dashboard or can be seen in "plain view," the police officer can seize the contraband, make an arrest and, of course, search the entire vehicle based upon the illegal contraband.

    The "Terry stop" is the doctrine which allows a police officer to conduct a search for the purposes of protecting themselves or other persons. The "Terry stop" got it name from the "stop and frisk" decisions which began with Terry v. Ohio , 392 U. S. 1 (1968). The Court held in Terry

    "[W]here a police officer observes unusual conduct which leads him reasonably to conclude in light of his experience that criminal activity may be afoot and that the persons with whom he is dealing may be armed and presently dangerous, where in the course of investigating this behavior he identifies himself as a policeman and makes reasonable inquiries, and where nothing in the initial stages of the encounter serves to dispel his reasonable fear for his own or others' safety, he is entitled for the protection of himself and others in the area to conduct a carefully limited search of the outer clothing of such persons in an attempt to discover weapons which might be used to assault him." Id ., at 30.

    A warrantless search of a car may be conducted by the police upon probable cause to believe that the vehicle contains contraband, Carroll v. United States, 267 U. S. 132 .

    The court has long approved consensual searches because it is reasonable for the police to conduct a search once they have been permitted to do so. Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S. 218, 219 (1973).

    But with regard to a refusal to consent and without out probable cause to conduct a search of the vehicle, the police cannot continue the seizure of a person on a routine traffic stop while they await a K-9 unit to see if the K-9 unit can produce the probable cause that the police lacked to conduct the search to begin with. To attempt to do through the backdoor that which is prohibited to be done through the front door flies in the face of the fourth and fourteeth amendments and would fail a constitutional challenge.
  6. #6
    hexeliebe Guest

    just for clarification

    since I live in Tennessee I was stating fact, not law. The practice in most rural areas of TN. is to do exactly what I described with the K-9 unit. To this point the judges or the accussed have not challenged the practice.
  7. #7
    Boxcarbill Guest

    Re: just for clarification

    Originally posted by hexeliebe
    since I live in Tennessee I was stating fact, not law. The practice in most rural areas of TN. is to do exactly what I described with the K-9 unit. To this point the judges or the accussed have not challenged the practice.
    Yes that is exactly the sort of thing which has gotten police officer less respect over the years. A law abiding courier for a large hospital who, of course, travels the outlying towns to bring back x-rays, tissues, blood, etc. for testing told me that if he were out in the middle of the desert and his car broke down and his cell phone didn't work and a carload of of black, teenage males pulled up on one side of him and a police car pulled up on the other side of him that he would be getting into the car with the black, teenagers because he would feel safer and he trusted them more. (The speaker was a white, college educated, middle-aged male.)
  8. #8
    volum Guest

    Re: can cops search your car in tennessee w/out a reason?

    [url]http://archive.aclu.org/library/bustcard.html[/url]


    1. Upon request, show them your driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance. In certain cases, your car can be searched without a warrant as long as the police have probable cause. To protect yourself later, you should make it clear that you do not consent to a search. It is not lawful for police to arrest you simply for refusing to consent to a search.


    While its obvious that PC can be as vague as the police officer needs it to be, this simple document from the ACLU can help clear up very basic questions.

    And while your car still may be searched, even illegally, it is always wise to remember to make it clear that you do NOT consent to a search. A good amount of the time, the police are waiting for an invitation to find something and aren't necessarily willing to go through all the paperwork etc. in hopes s/he'll find a little bag of mj or other not-so-crazy item.

    -hope this helps-

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