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Vehicle Search During a Somerset DUI Stop

Whether an individual or their vehicle is searched will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the police officer. This determination is made based on what they see once the vehicle is stopped and on the actions of the individual being pulled over.

For example, if they stop the driver and see open bottles of alcohol, they are going to want to search the car and seize the alcohol as evidence. If the person says something that suggests to the officer that there is something illegal in the car, it is possible that the officer will want to search the vehicle. It is important for someone to understand their rights when stopped for a potential DUI stop search and they should get the help of a Somerset DUI attorney as soon as they can.

Is Consent Necessary for a DUI Car Search

Under the Fourth Amendment, individuals have the right to not be subjected to an unreasonable search or seizure.  Plain view is a legal reason that allows law enforcement to search someone’s car. If an officer can see something illegal in plain view, a vehicle search during a Somerset DUI stop is justified. If seeing a handgun or evidence of some type of illegal drug in the car, then that search can be conducted regardless of whether or not the driver consented.

Even if someone is arrested, they still do not have to consent to a search of the car but the officer will look for any other legally justifiable reason to search the car. There used to be almost an automatic right to search a vehicle after arrest but the law on that changed and now the officer has to have a separate legally justifiable basis to search a car. And officers are very good at trying to find a legally justifiable way to search a car. They are going to be thinking about all of the exceptions that allow them to get into a car and potentially a driver’s car could be searched even if the driver refuses to give consent.

Understanding How Law Enforcement Officers Enforce DUI’s

Law enforcement will heavily enforce DUI laws. There are multiple law enforcement agencies in Somerset County. There are several city law enforcement agencies including:

  • Princess Ann Police Department
  • Crisfield Police Department
  • Somerset County Sheriff’s Office

State police officers will stay on the state roads and may conduct a vehicle search during a Somerset DUI stop if they suspect the individual is under the influence. Essentially, there are many law enforcement agencies that can enforce the DUI laws in Somerset County.

Common Role of Checkpoints and Where to Find Them

They are not common, but they happen a lot more often in Montgomery County and Worcester County than they do in Somerset County. If there is one in Somerset County, it will typically be set up on US Route-13, the main highway that runs through Somerset County, and when they are conducted, they are typically conducted with Maryland State Police spearheading them but other agencies may be involved in.

They are not very common at all but what does happen often is that there is a heavy enforcement of DUI laws near the college that is located in Somerset County. The Somerset County is home to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore which is a state university.

There is one major state road that goes through Somerset County and that is the US Route-13 and if there was going to be a sobriety checkpoint it probably would be located on Route-13 in Somerset County, which would likely take place at a point relatively close to the college that is located near the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

What Drivers Should Know About Vehicle Searches

One of the main concerns drivers have when being accused of driving under the influence is a vehicle search during a Somerset DUI stop. Sometimes, a vehicle holds evidence such as open beer cans or other types of alcohol containers. If the officer can find evidence of that, then that is one huge piece of evidence that can be used against you at trial.

Police officers will make an arrest for anything that is relevant or anything that is related to the traffic stop but it is certainly not unusual for you to be stopped and there is an investigation regarding a DUI and then, subsequently, when the car is searched, there is evidence of other types of crimes. It is very common for an officer to want to search the vehicle on a DUI stop.

Somerset DUI Stops