Nappanee, IN asked in Criminal Law for Indiana

Q: Can a police officer legally look in a vehicle with no search warrant or the owners consent?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Joel D. Hand
Joel D. Hand
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Licensed in Indiana

A: Assuming that you are referencing a situation in which a law enforcement officer is looking into a vehicle from the outside of it (e.g. through the windows), the officer would not need either a warrant nor the owner's consent. If you are referencing a situation in which the officer is actually gaining entry into the vehicle to search the vehicle's contents and/or compartments, the answer is maybe. There is an exception to the search warrant requirement called the automobile exception which grants officers the ability to conduct a search of a vehicle without consent and without a warrant under certain circumstances.

Andrew L. Bennett agrees with this answer

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