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Can an Officer Search My Car When I Get Pulled Over for a Traffic Ticket?

The short answer to that question is NO. However, everyone knows that cars do get searched when people are stopped for traffic violations. There are numerous ways officers can justify a search of a vehicle if they make up their minds to search it. Almost every traffic violation in Texas is an arrestable offense. Once you are arrested, the officer still cannot search your car unless the officer believes you can access your car (you will typically be in the patrol car in handcuffs), or the officer believes there is evidence of the offense for which you were arrested in your car. If these justifications fail, there is the dependable "inventory search" when your car has to be towed. And if you are not arrested for the traffic violation, there is always the "odor of marijuana" inside the vehicle that gives the officer probable cause to search. This one is fail-safe because, if there really is marijuana in the car, the officer can point to it as proof that he smelled it. If there is no marijuana, the officer can make other excuses. You need to have the legality of any car search thoroughly evaluated by a lawyer.

If you believe you or someone you know has had their rights violated because of an unlawful search, there is a chance you are right. Call Mingledorff Law Firm at 281-810-9721 to have your case evaluated, free of charge and determine what may be the best course of action. We have been handling Criminal defense in the Greater Houston Area since 1984. Remember, Better Ring Ming at 281-810-9721.

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Houston, TX 77079

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