If You Are Stopped by Police for a Suspected DUI, Do They Have the Right to Search Your Vehicle?
Interviewer: Now if I am pulled over for driving under the influence or being suspected of it, does the officer have a right to search my car? That’s a common question that we’re coming across.
Contraband in Plain View and Inventory Searches
Aaron: If the officer thinks you’re under the influence of drugs, they will often do more of a search. Where they’re getting away with searching your vehicle is when they’re doing what they call an inventory search. In an inventory search, they are supposed to make sure that there’s nothing dangerous in the vehicle before it gets towed.
So, yes, the police do have a lot of leeway in how far they can search if they can basically see any drugs or alcohol, which are in plain view.
They’re usually not going under seats unless they have good reason to suspect drugs but that’s on a case-by-case basis. I don’t encounter many DUIs with officers finding drugs under seats or in a glove compartment. Usually when they’re doing a DUI arrest they are just arresting the client. They’re not suspecting that they’re hiding drugs in the car but it does happen. We know it happens.
Do You Know Where Your Car Has Been Impounded? Attorney Bortel Will Assist His Clients with All Aspects of a DUI Charge
Interviewer: You mentioned the vehicle could be towed after the driver is arrested for DUI. Is that something that you also help or assist your clients with, getting their vehicles back, making sure they’re up on the insurance that they’re now going to have? Is that part of the service you provide to a client?
Aaron: I can help someone in any way I can when they call me up. Usually by the time they get out of custody, they’ve already gone and gotten their vehicle out of tow. You want to get it out quick because each day they increase the costs but sometimes people don’t know where their vehicle is. I can help them track it down.
Sometimes they can’t get the vehicle released because it’s not in their name. I do full-service DUI defense from the initial call to setting up the hearing with DMV, going to court for my client. In some counties I can do all the court appearances without my client ever having to show up. Other counties at some point my client will need to show up.
Many Questions Arise While a DUI Case Is Pending So All Clients Are Provided with Attorney Bortel’s Cell Phone Number
When my client calls me they always get my cell number. I give them my cell number once they hire me if they don’t already have it. They’re welcome to call me any time. They’re going to talk to me. They’re not going to be talking to office staff. I think it’s important that a client have access to their attorney especially if they’ve got urgent questions. I get back to my clients as quick as possible.
Interviewer: I would assume some are pretty panicked anyway because they’re already going through this. Adding that I guess added comfort level of how your lawyer’s always available is obviously a great thing.
By Aaron Bortel
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