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Can the police order me out of my vehicle

Can the police order you out of the vehicle for a traffic violation?

You are driving along without your seatbelt and you are pulled over by a police officer.   Can the police order you from your vehicle without probable cause?

The fourth amendment to the constitution protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizures.  When it comes to a traffic stop, the police may order the driver out of the car.   The case law holds that during a traffic stop, the police may detain the car‟s occupants only for the time required to issue a ticket and check the driver’s license and registration.  However, the police may order you and passengers out of the automobile even where they do not have probable cause to believe any occupant of the vehicle is involved in criminal activity.

Can they pat me down after ordering me out of the vehicle?

No.  Although the police can order you out of the automobile they can not frisk you or the passengers unless the police harbor reasonable suspicion that you are armed and dangerous.

Can the police search my automobile after I am ordered out of the Vehicle

No, the police can not search your car unless you have been placed under arrest or they have reasonable suspicion that you are armed and dangerous.   They can, however, look inside the car through the windows and try to find items in “plain view.”

Have more Questions?

If you have more questions or have been pulled over and believe the police violated your fourth amendment rights – Call us.

Rollins and Chan Law Firm

419 7th Street, NW Suite 405
Washington DC, District of Columbia 20004
United States (US)
Phone: 202-455-5610