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Can the cops search a vehicle without a warrant?

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Old 10-18-2004, 09:51 AM   #1
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Can the cops search a vehicle without a warrant?

I was talking with a co-worker last night and she was telling me that on Saturday night after her shift her boyfriend came and picked her up from work and on the way home a cop pulled them over for no apparent reason. The cop then asked that they step out of the vehicle so he can search the car. Having nothing to hide they got out of the car and allowed him to search it. My question is: In Ontario is it legal to search a vehicle without having a warrant? Can you refuse the search?
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Old 10-18-2004, 09:54 AM   #2
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you can refuse a search.
they will, then, most likely go harder on you.
once you give consent for them to do things, it doesn't matter to a judge or not whether or not you felt "intimidated" to do so.
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Old 10-18-2004, 09:56 AM   #3
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do they need a warrant = no
probable cause = probably
am I sure = no
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Old 10-18-2004, 09:57 AM   #4
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From LegalLine.ca:

743 Can the police stop and question you?

When police can stop you
The police can stop you under three general circumstances. First, the police can stop you if they suspect that you have committed an offence. Second, the police can stop you if they actually see you committing an offence. And third, the police can stop you at any time while you are driving to determine whether you have consumed alcohol or drugs, whether you are insured, and whether the car is mechanically fit to be driven. In all cases, once the police stop you, you have the right to know why, and the right to speak to a lawyer within a reasonable period of time.

What you should do
Although under the law you have the right to remain silent when questioned by police, it is best to cooperate with the police, and identify yourself. In some circumstances, you could be charged with the offence of obstructing the police if you fail to tell them your name. You could also be charged with an offence if you give the police a false name.

Being detained by the police
If the police continue to ask you questions and they do not allow you to leave, then in law it means that they are detaining you. When you are detained, you have the right to know why they are detaining or arresting you, and you have the right to talk to a lawyer.

Right to remain silent
Regardless of whether you have or have not been arrested, anything you tell the police can be used as evidence against you. This also applies to any physical tests that you are asked to perform or any samples that you are asked to voluntarily provide. Even though you may think that what you are telling the police could not hurt you in court, what you say or write could later become evidence against you. To be safe, you should consider talking to a lawyer before making any statements to any police officer, or before performing any test or providing any sample.


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745 Can the police enter and search your home?

When the police can enter your home
The police can enter and search your home in two general circumstances. First, they can enter and search your home if you give them permission. Second, they can enter and search your home if they have a search or arrest warrant. The police also have the power to enter, but not search, your home in certain emergencies.

Entry with your permission
First, the police can enter and search your home if they are given permission. Permission means that someone who lives in the home allows the police to enter. Generally, permission can only be given by an adult. If the police ask to enter your home without a warrant, and you do not want them to come in, you should tell them clearly that you do not want them to enter. Otherwise they may think that you have agreed to let them in. However, if you give the police permission to enter and they do not have a search warrant, you can ask them to leave at any time if you change your mind.

Entry with a warrant
Second, the police can enter and search your home if they have a search warrant or an arrest warrant. A warrant is a piece of paper signed by a judge that states who is to be arrested or what place can be searched. It gives the police the power to enter and search your home even if you don't want them to. You should not get in the way of a lawful search or arrest - if you do not let the police inside, you may be charged with obstructing the police.

Search warrant
A search warrant gives the police the right to enter and search your home for the things listed in the warrant. It gives the police the right to search for and take these things if they are found. The police must have the search warrant with them and you have a right to see it. While searching, the police cannot destroy things unnecessarily. They can also only search in places where the things listed in the search warrant might be found. For example, they can't look inside a drawer if they are looking for a stolen bicycle. Once the police have found the things listed in the search warrant, they must leave your home. They cannot continue to search. Ask for the name and badge number of the officer who appears to be in charge of the search.

Arrest warrant
An arrest warrant gives the police the right to enter a home to arrest the person whose name is listed on the warrant. An arrest warrant also gives the police a limited power to search a home. If an arrest is made in your home, generally the police can only search the immediate surroundings.

If the police enter your home with a search warrant or an arrest warrant, they can also take other illegal things or evidence of crime that they find during their search. For example, if the police have a search warrant to look for a gun and while they are searching, they find illegal drugs, the drugs can be taken and used as evidence for a drug charge against you.

Entry in emergencies
Finally, the police also have the power to enter your home in certain kinds of emergencies. There are three general circumstances that are considered to be emergencies. First, the police can follow someone into your home if that person has just committed an offence, or if the police believe that person is about to commit an offence. Second, the police can enter if they believe someone in your home is about to harm another person. And third, they can enter to give emergency aid to someone inside. This power to enter your home in an emergency does not give the police the right to search your home. However, while they are in your home the police can seize anything illegal or any evidence of crime that they see.

If during a search, the police take something from your home, you may be entitled to get it back. You should consult a lawyer for further assistance.

More information at: LegalLine.ca
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Old 10-18-2004, 09:59 AM   #5
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If they have probably cause, they can search. They can also make up just about any excuse to validate "probable cause" - i.e. you appeared to be swerving, etc etc etc and search.
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Old 10-18-2004, 10:02 AM   #6
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As far as I remember...if a cop pulls you over and they see open liquor or drugs in plain site, then at that point they can search the rest of your car without a warrant (ie ask you to open the trunk etc)

What I don't remember is if they can search your car if they suspect you of being under the influence? Or if they notice something suspicious going on (like someone being held against their will in the back seat).

Paging Janiecakes!
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Old 10-18-2004, 10:07 AM   #7
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police can only search your car (or your house or your person) if (i) they have a warrant, (ii) you give them permission or (iii) they have reasonable grounds for suspecting a crime.

if they ask "do you mind if i take a look in your backseat?" you are free to say "i don't have anything to hide, but i don't generally give anyone permission to search my things."

it is not an unreasonable position to take. being searched is a violation of your privacy and potentially humiliating, so unless you are REQUIRED by law to succumb to the search, you can tell the cop to kindly go fuck himself.

if the cop says he is going to search your car anyway, ask him to state the exact grounds on which he is going to conduct the search. make sure you write down EXACTLY what he says in front of him if you can.

there is a TON of case law that explores what consitutes "reasonable grounds" for a warrantless search. for example, the ontario court of appeal (i think) decided a few years ago that the *smell* of marijuana in a car does NOT justify a search (basically recognizing that smelling drugs is not an exact science).
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Old 10-18-2004, 10:16 AM   #8
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many of you may find this paper unbelievably useful:

http://www.parl.gc.ca/37/1/parlbus/c...e/powers-e.htm

fight the power.
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Old 10-18-2004, 10:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Klubmasta Will
police can only search your car (or your house or your person) if (i) they have a warrant, (ii) you give them permission or (iii) they have reasonable grounds for suspecting a crime.

if they ask "do you mind if i take a look in your backseat?" you are free to say "i don't have anything to hide, but i don't generally give anyone permission to search my things."

it is not an unreasonable position to take. being searched is a violation of your privacy and potentially humiliating, so unless you are REQUIRED by law to succumb to the search, you can tell the cop to kindly go fuck himself.

if the cop says he is going to search your car anyway, ask him to state the exact grounds on which he is going to conduct the search. make sure you write down EXACTLY what he says in front of him if you can.

there is a TON of case law that explores what consitutes "reasonable grounds" for a warrantless search. for example, the ontario court of appeal (i think) decided a few years ago that the *smell* of marijuana in a car does NOT justify a search (basically recognizing that smelling drugs is not an exact science).
What if you did feel intimidated by the cop? Once you give them permission to search you vehicle can you file a complaint after that?
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Old 10-18-2004, 10:27 AM   #10
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They have the right to search your vehicle if they HAVE reason to believe there is something in there. That is what the cops told me a long time ago. If they feel it is necessary to search a vehicle in hope of finding something "illegal" then they reserve the power to do so.


Power trippin
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Old 10-18-2004, 10:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Buddy Holly
They have the right to search your vehicle if they HAVE reason to believe there is something in there. That is what the cops told me a long time ago.
LOL.

Oh, they told you, did they? Well then it must be true. Police never lie or use devious tactics to confuse you.

Cheers ... Ian
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Old 10-18-2004, 10:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by nuttz
What if you did feel intimidated by the cop? Once you give them permission to search you vehicle can you file a complaint after that?
you must be nuttz.

you can always make the argument, but it would be very difficult (i.e. almost impossible) to successfully argue that you were so intimidated that your consent was not voluntary.
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Old 10-18-2004, 10:38 AM   #13
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hey, if you refuse a search in a "suspicious way", isn't that reasonable grounds? like if you're all "no way, man! you can't fuckin' search my car! i watch cops, ya know.".
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Old 10-18-2004, 10:47 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Buddy Holly
They have the right to search your vehicle if they HAVE reason to believe there is something in there. That is what the cops told me a long time ago.
To some extent, Buddy is right. There's this body of recent criminal case law, I think its R. v. Simpson, that deals with "Articulable Cause." Essentially, it boils down to something less than a reasonable / probable grounds, and closer to a hunch. It's pretty whacked, but it's received some support.

This Simpson character was seen driving into the driveway of a suspected crack dealer. The cops followed the car after it left, pulled him over and searched him. Much to Simpson's chagrin, he had some blow on him. The cop stated the reason for the arrest was "like a hunch" from being on Vice. The ruling called it "Articulable Cause" and it allowed the conviction. Neither s.8 nor s.24(2) played a role in the decision.
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Old 10-18-2004, 10:55 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by TK - 421
To some extent, Buddy is right. There's this body of recent criminal case law, I think its R. v. Simpson, that deals with "Articulable Cause." Essentially, it boils down to something less than a reasonable / probable grounds, and closer to a hunch. It's pretty whacked, but it's received some support.

This Simpson character was seen driving into the driveway of a suspected crack dealer. The cops followed the car after it left, pulled him over and searched him. Much to Simpson's chagrin, he had some blow on him. The cop stated the reason for the arrest was "like a hunch" from being on Vice. The ruling called it "Articulable Cause" and it allowed the conviction. Neither s.8 nor s.24(2) played a role in the decision.
Actually, such a case in Toronto just recently happened. The cops pulled over a driver for no apparent reason. He felt that a young black man in a Mercedes was suspicious. He wanted to search the car and did so because he said that he could smell cocaine in the car. They searched the car and sure enough, they found several kilos in the car.

When it went to trial however, the search was deemed to have been conducted illegally (you can't smell cocaine from outside a car if it is in the trunk). Therefore the evidence had to be dismissed, and therefore there was no case to convict the driver.

Cheers ... Ian
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Old 10-18-2004, 11:01 AM   #16
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The short answer is: put your junk in the trunk. They need a warrant to search the trunk.
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Old 10-18-2004, 11:09 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Soundstream
Actually, such a case in Toronto just recently happened. The cops pulled over a driver for no apparent reason. He felt that a young black man in a Mercedes was suspicious. He wanted to search the car and did so because he said that he could smell cocaine in the car. They searched the car and sure enough, they found several kilos in the car.

When it went to trial however, the search was deemed to have been conducted illegally (you can't smell cocaine from outside a car if it is in the trunk). Therefore the evidence had to be dismissed, and therefore there was no case to convict the driver.

Cheers ... Ian
Yea, I read about that one. Pretty fucked up, huh? The only difference I can see between the two cases is that with Simpson there was a "hunch." The case you are talking about seemed to be more of a denunciation of what cops like to call D.W.B.

These types of cases are great discussion areas. You always get both sides of the spectrum i.e. : If you aren't doing anything illegal, then don't worry about being stopped VS. Hey copper, why don't you do some "real" police work instead of using the Highway Traffic Act to get some grounds.
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Old 10-18-2004, 01:22 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Soundstream
LOL.

Oh, they told you, did they? Well then it must be true. Police never lie or use devious tactics to confuse you.

Cheers ... Ian

No I'm not saying they were being honest. That is what they told me. If they feel like there is reason to search a vehicle (they can make one up you know) Then they have the right as a person in authority to do so. Who know's maybe, they would have found that pound of crack hidden under the drivers seat if they looked a little closer.

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Old 10-18-2004, 01:26 PM   #19
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yes. if you're in it. If you're smoking weed beside your car... button her up like it's not yours. That way they can't make you open it. that's hopw i met stir-fry i left my window open to play jungle and spliff on the seat. doh. better off just tpo have everything well hidden and agree to a search. As soon as you say no... they go 'why is he saying no unless he doesn't want me to... why wouldn't he want me toi unless he has something to hide.' and voila reasonable suspicion is born and now they have a right.... and a mission to find out why you didn't want one.
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Old 10-18-2004, 01:38 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by twist
As soon as you say no... they go 'why is he saying no unless he doesn't want me to... why wouldn't he want me toi unless he has something to hide.' and voila reasonable suspicion is born and now they have a right.... and a mission to find out why you didn't want one.
it's only suspicious if you're acting like a sketchbag at the time. otherwise, saying no to a search is PERFECTLY reasonable.

a court would never buy a cop's argument that "he said no, so therefore we had reasonable grounds for believing that he was hiding something." that would effectively take away your constitutional right to say NO to an unjustified search.

trust me. it is completely acceptable to say "sorry, officer, i do not consent to a search. it's a violation of my privacy and my constitutional rights. it's also humiliating and i have nothing to gain from it, so, like, why don't you get out of my face, pig?"

(ok, maybe you shouldn't say the last part.)
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Old 10-18-2004, 02:52 PM   #21
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see i have. they don't listen so good. I've been dealing with cops since i was like 13/14... the military helped too. I'm cool as a motherfucker under cop scruitiny... But i mean every single time i've declined (when you go to bootcamp you learn to turn off and on officer attitude vs. barracks attitude like snap, crackle pop. I fully laid on the miltary press and said essentially what you said i should. Never flown. But I've found that by just keeping shit locked down and outta sight... and when they come up all peaceable.. just be a big smiling ass and when they ask if they can search be all 'Sure thing officer!' and they always just do a meager search instead of a full on fucking shakedown.

I have two uncles (one of them is a second uncle) that are cops and their advice was to agree... unless you have witnesses and it's a random stop. They basically said... and i've heard much the same from countless cops... 'As soon as someone says no you can't search me... to me that says search them. so I will.' Fuck the pay duty cops we had on set sometimes were fucking hilarious... one guy had his girlfriend come down and give him a hummer in his cruiser. It was like play day for them and they'd tell us all these fucked up stories about pulling fucked up shit they're not supposed to do... like being at protests and when no ones looking just cracking a protester in the chops. The stories were funny but at the same time kind of scary.

I even tried taking it to court when I was younger... the cop just totally made all this shit up. it was total bate and I ended up almost getting more fucked. Until I can afford to pay my lawyer for trivial shit like that... I just keep my head down and make with the nice nice. I feel kind of stupid like I should fucking throw it back in their face... but then i remember all the times driving away from a patrol car and lighting up a big fat fucking spliff, cuz i conned that motherfucker like dirty rotten scoundrels. much more satisfying... usually takes less time too.

it's funny my moms is the editor of the police association newsletter (Tour Of Duty no less.) she interviewed this SWAT guy who came up from fucking galveston... as in I HAVE A GUN RUCK ON MY GUN RACK Galveston. He was saying Toronto is totally fucked and he would never work here because the system is so fucked... did i mention he was from GALVESTON. like wtf. He was saying he wasn't surprised at all regarding the average TO cops attitude. The reporting and command structure are totally different up here and apparently there's so much shit to deal with... most cops just decide to skip it. And you get searched.
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Old 10-18-2004, 03:02 PM   #22
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You can argue that they need a warrant to search your vehicle but what they'll end up doing if it gets to a stalemate is go through the process of getting a warrant then make you sit there and wait with them until they get the go ahead. At which point I'd assume they'd have no remorse searching your car as extensively as possible and w/ zero tolerance.
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Old 10-18-2004, 04:52 PM   #23
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i don't put up with shit from the police. it is abuse. i will say no. it's MY car and MY belongings and no one goes searching through my shit even if you are a cop. if they can give me a good reason i MIGHT then.
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Old 10-18-2004, 05:00 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by Soundstream
Actually, such a case in Toronto just recently happened. The cops pulled over a driver for no apparent reason. He felt that a young black man in a Mercedes was suspicious. He wanted to search the car and did so because he said that he could smell cocaine in the car. They searched the car and sure enough, they found several kilos in the car.

When it went to trial however, the search was deemed to have been conducted illegally (you can't smell cocaine from outside a car if it is in the trunk). Therefore the evidence had to be dismissed, and therefore there was no case to convict the driver.

Cheers ... Ian
Actually it was a bit different. The case was dropped because the judged deemed the cops pulling him over was illegal because they racially profiled him.

The search was deemed legal (the cops said once dude opened the window, the smell of "cat urine" was enormous). The reason for pulling him over was not.
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Old 10-18-2004, 05:02 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by Poot
If they have probably cause, they can search. They can also make up just about any excuse to validate "probable cause" - i.e. you appeared to be swerving, etc etc etc and search.
i've been stopped enough times by the police.. just because i drive a shady 78 impala and that corners really wide.
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