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Can the Police Search My Car?

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NH Unreasonable Searches – Often, when police stop a motor vehicle at night, they ask the driver to consent to a search of the car.  Under the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, you have a right to be free from unreasonable searches.  The 4th Amendment, and the N.H. Constitution, require that police demonstrate probable cause and obtain a warrant prior to searching your home or car.  There are several exceptions to the warrant requirement, including consent, emergency, plain view and for objects within your “wingspan.”  Unlike many other states, N.H. does not recognize an automobile exception to the warrant requirement.  State v. Sterndale, 139 N.H. 445 (1995).  The automobile exception, in other jurisdictions, allows the police broad discretion to search your car in New Hampshire, if you don’t consent and they don’t have a warrant or an emergency, the police can only look at what’s in plain view in your car.  But if they see something illegal or dangerous, like drugs or a gun, they can search further.  The police can also search your car if they arrest you and impound the car.

New Hampshire Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you have been stopped by the police, it is important to retain a knowledgeable attorney who can give you specific legal advice regarding your situation and can help you build your best defense.  Call Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. at (603) 288-1403 or fill out our online contact form to get in touch with an attorney that will zealously represent your interests and fight to protect your freedom.