Can Police In Michigan Search Your Car Without Consent or Warrant?
No one looks at themselves in the mirror and says "I'm going to walk out the door, get in my car, and make sure I get pulled over today." With that being said, we all take the risk of being pulled over every time we get in that driver's seat, buckle up the seatbelt, turn the car on, and shift it into gear. Although being pulled over isn't that bad, what could happen during the traffic stop is the scary part.
This is a two-sided problem as well, considering that both police and the driver are anxious about the proceedings of the impending traffic stop. Police are often worried about weapons or other danger being inside of the vehicle while many drivers are nervous because they have seen or experienced tough interactions with police or don't know what they did. Often times the vehicle is searched, but is the search always lawful?
According to hemingwaylegal.com, Michigan lawmakers voted and signed into law that the police may not search your vehicle without consent, a warrant, or other reasonable extenuating circumstances. Obviously, that's not an extremely clear answer but instead is actually rather vague, so what does this mean for police searches when related to cars in Michigan?
Let's talk about the easy part of this first, say you are speeding and you get pulled over. When that cop approaches your car you may be a little rude but the car is squeaky clean and so is your record. The cop goes "Do you give me consent to search your vehicle?" You reply, "No, where's your warrant?" If they can't provide a warrant then they must conduct the traffic stop and continue on with their day.
Now, let's make this a little bit thicker, shall we? Let's say they don't have your consent or a warrant but you have a bench warrant for your arrest or the car smells like cannabis or alcohol. Maybe the cop sees a gun instead, either way, there are now extenuating circumstances that allow for a lawful search to be conducted.
So, no the Michigan police may not search your vehicle without your consent or a legal warrant. Although to make this a definite make sure that you are not implicating yourself in any other way and handle all legal manors so you don't give the cops any extenuating circumstances to exercise for a legal and lawful search.