Being stopped on suspicion of a DUI should not lead to any more trouble. Unfortunately, if an officer searches your vehicle, you may wind up with greater legal complications than a possible DUI arrest. The bottom line is that if circumstances do not exist for a Colorado police officer to look inside your automobile, you do not have to give an officer permission to do so. If an officer asks to search your vehicle, you can refuse.
Cheat Sheet explains that officers can possess various legal grounds to search a vehicle. Many people are aware that an officer needs a warrant to conduct a search. Alternatively, if you possess an illegal item in plain view that an officer can already see from the outside, the officer may search your vehicle without a warrant. Officers can also search vehicles if they have already arrested the driver, if there is probable cause of a crime, or if criminal evidence inside the vehicle is in danger of imminent destruction.
However, if none of these circumstances exist, then you must grant consent to an officer to search your vehicle. Sometimes an officer may ask directly. However, an officer might be more casual about it, asking if you would mind if the officer took a look inside your vehicle. You do not have to say yes in any of these cases. In fact, giving consent could be a problem if an officer finds something inside your vehicle that the officer believes is incriminating.
In the event an officer does search your vehicle without a warrant, probable cause or your consent, your constitutional rights may have been violated and any evidence found against you can be thrown out. It is important to discuss these matters with a defense attorney if a DUI stop has violated your civil rights. Keep in mind this article is written as general information and is no substitute for the counsel of a professional attorney.