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When Can the Police Search Your Car at the Roadside? - The Podcast

Illustration for article titled When Can the Police Search Your Car at the Roadside? - The Podcastem/emem/em

Whenever I mention traffic stops or the police, I get a few comments and emails from people who want to edumacate me on the law. “You don’t have to pull over when the cop turns on his lights.” Or, “You don’t have to talk to the officer when he/she approaches your car.” The Constitution you say?


This area is one of the most hotly contested and most misunderstood areas of the law. As I like to say, I am just here to explain to you what the law is and does. I am not saying I agree with it. That said:

Police officers are allowed to pull you over. The threshold for this is quite low. No, your Constitutional right to travel freely does not trump law enforcement stopping you for a traffic violation.


They can also detain you briefly by the side of the road depending on what you did or what they are investigating. No, this is not an arrest. Nor is it a “seizure” as contemplated by the 4th Amendment.

The video of this podcast went up a few hours before I typed THIS sentence and I have already gotten angry comments on all of the above. No, I am not wrong. If you dislike this, your gripe is with the SUPREME COURT. And, you should realize: The Constitution specifically says that the SUPREME COURT is the final arbiter on the interpretation of the laws and said Constitution. So you cannot claim to hide behind the Constitution on the one hand, but disclaim the Supreme Court’s interpretation of it.

The audio:


And the video:

Top shot is the dash of Ramo Stott’s #7 Superbird, currently owned by Doug Schellinger. Back when stock cars were cool.


Follow me on Twitter: @stevelehto

Hear my podcast on iTunes: Lehto’s Law

Steve Lehto has been practicing law for 25 years, almost exclusively in consumer protection and Michigan lemon law. He wrote The Lemon Law Bible and Preston Tucker and His Battle to Build the Car of Tomorrow.


This website may supply general information about the law but it is for informational purposes only. This does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not meant to constitute legal advice, so the good news is we’re not billing you by the hour for reading this. The bad news is that you shouldn’t act upon any of the information without consulting a qualified professional attorney who will, probably, bill you by the hour.

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