970 McHenry Avenue, Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC

Call Today for Your FREE Consultation

Call Us800-338-3833 | 815-338-3838

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Crystal Lake criminal defense attorneyIt is important for every American to understand their rights and responsibilities under state and federal law. One of the most important rights we have is the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. Many criminal charges result from police searches. If you or a loved one are facing charges for drug possession or another criminal offense after a vehicle search, contact a lawyer for help.

Illinois Law Regarding Vehicle Searches

The Fourth Amendment prohibits unjustified searches of personal property. However, it can be hard to know when a search is justified. The law also applies differently to vehicles than it does homes or other types of personal property. Police usually need a search warrant to search your home, but vehicles are often exempt from the search warrant requirement.

Generally, police have the right to search your car, truck, van, or other vehicle under the following circumstances:

...

McHenry County Criminal Defense AttorneyDuring routine traffic stops in Illinois, police frequently search vehicles for reasons unrelated to the alleged traffic violation. Any illegal drug or weapons found in the car can lead to an arrest. The quality of police-civilian interactions in such situations often deteriorates quickly and leaves the driver no opportunity to stop and think about their rights. But once the search is over and the illegal substances have been found, it may seem too late to change anything. 

But is it legal for a routine traffic stop to turn into a search leading to the discovery of drugs, weapons, or other illegal substances? Can illegal material found in such a search be used against you in court? Fortunately, the United States Constitution addresses these complex topics, and with the help of an experienced McHenry criminal defense attorney, you may be able to fight the charges against you. 

Fourth Amendment Protections

The text of the U.S. Constitution has several amendments protecting the rights of American citizens. One of the most important amendments is the Fourth Amendment, which states that the government - including all government actors, such as police - cannot violate a citizens’ right to security in their person, home, or belongings by performing an “unreasonable search and seizure.” 

...

Crystal Lake illegal search defense attorneyIt is not uncommon to hear or read about a person who was arrested for drug possession or a similar crime after being stopped by police for a traffic violation. Situations such as these lead to an extremely important question: How does a traffic stop transform into a search that leads to the discovery of illegal drugs, guns, or other contraband? The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution addresses the rights of citizens regarding searches and seizures. However, the way in which the courts have interpreted the Fourth Amendment over the years has created a deal of confusion for many people.

The Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment promises that the government—which means the police, by extension—shall not violate “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” It goes on to state, “No Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause,” and that a warrant must describe where the search is to take place, as well as the items or individuals that are expected to be seized.

Of course, when the Fourth Amendment was written in 1789, the automobile was still over 100 years away from being invented. As such, our founding fathers could not have foreseen such mobility for the average citizen. Because cars and trucks are so mobile, the warrant requirement is not exactly very conducive to the efforts of law enforcement, which is why courts around the country have had to review cases of warrantless searches to set precedents that must be followed by law enforcement officers.

...

Can the Police Search My Car Anytime They Want?In recent years, there has been a great deal of public debate about the power and authority given to police officers in various situations. Among these concerns is the issue of conducting a search for illicit drugs, unlawful weapons, or other illegal items. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution promises American citizens the right to be free from “unreasonable searches and seizures” of their homes, papers, effects, and persons. The same amendment also specifies that all warrants must be based on probable cause and must describe in detail “the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.” If you are facing charges based on evidence found during an illegal or unreasonable search, an experienced criminal defense attorney could get the case against you dismissed.

Consent Trumps Everything Else

Most people will never have the police come to their house wanting to conduct a search. It is much more common, however, for such a situation to develop during a traffic stop. If you have been stopped by the police and the officer wants to search your vehicle, he or she will almost certainly start by asking for your permission. If the officer obtains your clear consent, the search becomes lawful, and you will no longer have the option of challenging the evidence based on an unreasonable search.

Keep in mind that the officer might not use the word “search” or even ask for your consent in a clear manner. He or she might say something to the effect of, “I’m sure you don’t mind if I take a quick look around, right?” As a citizen, you always have the right to refuse to consent when an officer asks to search your car. Refusing will not always prevent the search, but you will retain the ability to challenge the validity of the search later.

...

dui, Crystal Lake Criminal Defense Lawyer, search. traffic stop, mchenry county attorney, law firmIf you get pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Crystal Lake, you will need the help of a DUI defense attorney. However, in the moment of the traffic stop, it is important to remember several things to prevent making a mistake or saying something that can be used against you later on.

Police Officers are Under a Lot of Stress

When they start making a traffic stop, police officers do not have a full understanding of what is going on. During training, police officers frequently hear harrowing statistics about fatalities during routine stops; 62 officers were killed during traffic stops between 2003 and 2012. It is important to remember that no matter how frustrated you are when you get pulled over, the police officer coming to your driver's side window does not know if you are waiting with a weapon. Making it exceptionally clear that you have no intention of hurting anyone is important. Keeping your hands on the wheel, in plain view, and not making any sudden moves can go a long way in putting the police officer at ease, which can make the whole situation much less intense.

...
Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
Back to Top