At one time or another, many Maryland drivers have had to deal with the inconvenience of a traffic stop. In most cases, these stops are brief, with drivers going about their days after receiving citations or warnings. Sometimes, though, traffic stops lead to arrests.
If officers arrest you, your passenger may be able to drive your vehicle to your home. Otherwise, officers may have little choice but to remove your car, truck or SUV from the public roadway. If they do so, your vehicle may end up in an impound lot.
No reason is necessary
According to the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, you have a fundamental right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. To respect this right, officers usually must have probable cause to search your vehicle. While this is a comparatively low legal threshold, it is not a meaningless one.
If officers impound your vehicle, though, they do not need to have any particular reason for searching it. That is, they do not need probable cause to go through your vehicle after impounding it. While officers often search impounded vehicles simply to inventory their contents, you can expect them to use any incriminating evidence they find against you.
The search can be comprehensive
At the impound lot or before going there, officers may perform either a basic search or a more comprehensive one. Therefore, if you have contraband in a compartment inside your vehicle, there is a good chance the police will find it.
Ultimately, if you are facing prosecution because of something officers found when searching your car, it is critical to determine whether they followed the rules.