Alexandria, VA asked in Criminal Law and Traffic Tickets for Virginia

Q: Is it illegal for a officer to reach in your car without a warrant to grab anything?

I had a blunt roach in my ash tray so small I dont even think it had anything In it and he grabbed it right out of my ash tray without my permission I felt like it was not the right way.

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2 Lawyer Answers

Bryan J. Jones

  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Charlottesville, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: If an officer has probable cause, they can reach into your car and seize evidence. In this case, it appears that the officer probably had probable cause.

Daniel P Leavitt

  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Midlothian, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: If the officer was able to see contraband in plain sight then that would give him probable cause to search. Keeping contraband in plain sight, or smoking marijuana (smell) gives the officer probable cause to search and is an invitation for police to search your vehicle.

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