Q: Is it legal for a state trooper to search a locked glovebox? He said he was going to “bust it open” if I didn’t give key
I was pulled over for failure to display my front license plate - upon stop trooper asked if I smoked weed I said yes pointed to my pipe - then got out to get a leash from the trunk for my dog so he could search my car - I didn’t really give permission he just already was on it - so after admitting to smoking weed and showing him where my weed was he gets to the glovebox which I had locked with the keys in my hand and I had no intention of opening it - but then he said he would bust it open of I didn’t give him the keys?? So like a dummy I gave him the key and he allegedly found less than one gram of meth inside. So I was arrested for possession of a controlled substance pg 1 as well as possession of marijuana less than 2 oz. So was that legal? Should I have given the key? Or let him “bust up” my brand new vehicle?? Also I was in residential streets idk why a trooper was so quick to bust little ol me at 9:45am on my way to get breakfast.
A: Once the admission of possession of an illegal substance was made, the officer had a legal right to search your car. Whether the officer was going to "bust up" your car or impound your vehicle to perform an inventory search is speculation. Call your lawyer. Good luck.
Kiele Linroth Pace agrees with this answer
It sounds like the search was legal. The license plate gives the officer reasonable suspicion for the initial stop. You can be arrested for any offense except speeding. See: Atwater v. Lago Vista, 532 U.S. 318. In addition to the license plate crime, you confessed to two others crimes: weed and possession of drug paraphernalia (pipe). A vehicle can be impounded incident to the arrest of the driver. The police may search a vehicle without a warrant if they have reason to believe the vehicle contains evidence of the offense of arrest. See: Arizona v. Gant, 556 U.S. 332. The glove box is generally a good place to search for drugs... and it seems that was also true in this specific case, since it contained meth.
You can't change the situation that got you into this mess, but how you handle the current circumstance can have a serious impact on the rest of your life. Hire a criminal defense attorney and ask what steps you can take to increase your chances of a dismissal or treatment rather than a conviction and confinement. Whatever the expense, it will be cheaper in the long run to minimize the potential damage to your career. Life is hard enough without adding "convicted felon" to your resume.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.