The Fourth Amendment and Consent to Search a Vehicle

By: Wallin & Klarich

Whether Consent Given by Driver to Search Vehicle Was Given Voluntarily Requires Analysis by an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Who Understands the Fourth Amendment

Voluntariness of consent to search must be analyzed under the Fourth Amendment and Article 1, section 5 of The United States Constitution “by examining the totality of the circumstances.” Ohio v. Robinette, 519 U.S. at 39; State v. Sherburne, 571 A.2d 1181, 1185 (Me. 1990).

Consent to search may be found if the detainment of a suspect by an officer has ended and the continued presence of the suspect becomes voluntary and consensual. For instance, a traffic stop which has risen to the level of a detention may be converted into a consensual encounter. The first step courts look to is whether the officer returned all documents to the driver. Returning documents to the driver or issuing a citation or warning will generally convert the traffic stop into a consensual encounter (United States v. West, 219 F.3d, 171, 2000).

Many legal and constitutional issues arise when dealing with any search or seizure executed by law enforcement. If you have questions about a police vehicle stop or search or another criminal defense matter, contact the skilled Southern California criminal defense lawyers at Wallin & Klarich for a consultation at 1-888-280-6839. Also, visit us online at to learn more about your case and what can be done.

Posted In: Criminal Defense