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Knowing when your car can be searched in Tennessee

On Behalf of | Aug 10, 2021 | Criminal Defense

After driving in a way that an officer believes is suspicious, you could be pulled over and questioned. The officer may write a ticket for the offense or give you a warning and send you on your way. Your vehicle could also be searched by the officer before a final decision is made. Keep a few of your rights in mind if a warrant is not presented before your vehicle is searched.


If an officer asks to search your car and you give consent, then a warrant isn’t needed. This is an area of criminal law that is fairly straightforward as you have allowed an action to take place pertaining to your property. If the officer finds something illegal, then it could result in further charges.

Probable cause

When your actions are suspicious or there are odors coming from the vehicle that could indicate an illegal substance or activity, then the officer usually doesn’t need a warrant to search your vehicle as this is considered probable cause. If an officer clearly sees illegal items in your vehicle or has information associated with another crime that has taken place and your vehicle matches the description available, then a warrant typically isn’t needed.


After being arrested, your car could be searched to look for drugs, weapons, or other evidence associated with your charges. You’ll usually be given an opportunity to offer an explanation about items that are found, but keep in mind that your testimony could be used against you in court.

In the event that you’re pulled over while driving, you have the option to refuse a search of your vehicle. However, certain circumstances could result in an officer not needing a warrant and then obtaining items that are illegal to have in your possession.

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