There are many questions that can go through a person’s mind when he or she is being accused of drunk driving. In some cases, those questions have to do with the legalities of what is happening. Some of those questions might pertain to your Fourth Amendment rights regarding arrest, search and seizure. Knowing the answers to common questions ahead of time might help you to spot illegal methods that may be used during a drunk driving incident.
Can a police officer arrest me without a valid warrant?
If you commit a crime, such as driving while intoxicated, in the presence of the police officer, you can be arrested without an arrest warrant. If you are being arrested on a felony charge, the crime doesn’t have to be committed in the officer’s presence. Instead, the officer only has to have probable cause to believe you committed the crime.
Can the officer search me or my vehicle if I’m arrested for drunk driving?
The Fourth Amendment allows police officers to search areas that are within your reach. These searches can occur without your consent and without a warrant only if you are arrested for a crime. This is justified because of the need of the officer to remain safe. Again, only areas in your immediate reach can be lawfully searched without a warrant or your consent. While the officer can search the interior of the vehicle and the glove box, the trunk can’t searched unless the officer has probable cause to believe that there are items used in criminal activity or contraband in the trunk.
There are a lot of variables that can come into the picture when dealing with Fourth Amendment rights. If you think those rights have been violated, you should take action to determine if your rights were violated. This often involves understanding legal wording and precedents that have already been set.
Source: FindLaw, “The Fourth Amendment “Reasonableness” Requirement,” accessed July 15, 2015