Can the police legally search me?

Generally, the police must have a warrant to conduct a search. However, there are numerous exceptions to the warrant requirement, such as:

  • Consent – You or another authorized individual consent to a search of your person, vehicle, or residence.
  • Plain-view – While conducting a lawful activity, like a traffic stop for speeding, the police observe evidence of a crime or contraband in plain view.
  • Protective search – The police may lawfully conduct a pat-down of a person in custody or a quick sweep of a vehicle or building to ensure there is nothing posing a danger to the police or others.
  • Canine sniff – A police canine can indicate the presence of contraband, which may give police probable cause to conduct a search for that contraband.