COVID-19 Update: What We Are Doing to Protect Our Clients
The Florida Bar 1950
American Bar Association
Justia Lawyer Rating
Lake County Bar Associaton
Florida Justice Association

Can My Car Be Searched if I've Been Stopped for Speeding?

If you have been stopped for speeding in Orlando or surrounding areas in Florida, you may be curious as to whether it is legal for police to search your vehicle. Traffic stops involving a motorist who was allegedly driving over the speed limit don't normally result in a search of the vehicle, however there are situations in which a police officer or officers may search your car without a warrant.

When is this legal?

If police pull you over for speeding and have probable cause, your vehicle may be searched without police obtaining a warrant. This applies when police believe your car may contain evidence of a crime, such as drug possession or a weapon used in the commission of a crime. Basically, it is a simple matter for someone driving a vehicle to get rid of "evidence" of a crime by simply throwing it out a window or going to another location where the gun, drugs, alcohol, or other incriminating evidence can be disposed of. For this reason, unlike the requirement an officer has a warrant to search a home or other property, a vehicle may be searched when someone is stopped for speeding if probable cause exists without the need of a warrant.

What may happen when an officer writes you a speeding ticket?

In some cases, a police officer may act in a casual manner after issuing a ticket for driving above the speed limit, such as asking politely if you have any drugs, weapons, or even substantial amounts of cash in your car. How you answer the officer in this situation is important, as you don't want to provide an answer that isn't absolutely clear to the officer. For instance, if the officer asks if you mind him or her searching your vehicle, the answer "no" which you may mean as, "No, you cannot search my vehicle" may be misconstrued as, "No, I don't mind if you search my car." Therefore, it is critical you convey the message that the officer does not have your permission to search your vehicle without a warrant.

There are many situations in which a motorist has no idea whether a police officer actually has probable cause to seek a warrant. Without probable cause, a judge will not issue a warrant. Therefore, it is important to realize that if you have been stopped for speeding and question whether probable cause actually exists, never give consent. Make it clear that you will not allow your vehicle to be searched without a warrant, and refuse to answer questions or go further with any discussion without the presence of an attorney.

It all boils down to the fact police must actually have probable cause, although an officer may try to make you believe he/she has a valid reason to search your vehicle when in truth this is not the case. Never agree to a search of your vehicle when asked by police after being stopped for speeding, and consult an experienced Orlando criminal defense lawyer immediately.

Client Reviews

I would like thank my attorney Thomas Luka. I knew from the beginning I had the right guy in my corner. While celebrating with family and friends at a Public Park in Seminole County, a fight broke out among various people. Myself, and a good friend, broke up the fight and the instigators left. Six months later, I was wrongly accused as the person who started the fight. The first attorney I hired could not even get a response from the State Attorney handling the case. Someone referred me to Tom and I felt comfortable at his demeanor and reactions.

After conversations with Tom, who knew I would settle for nothing less than a FULL DISMISSAL due to my innocence, I hired him. His firm of Adams and Luka did the due diligence by interviewing witnesses and the police who were on the scene, as well as starting a dialogue with the State Attorney. After gathering statements from witnesses, Tom was able to present a strong argument on my behalf to the State Attorney on why the case should be dismissed. If the State Attorney was not willing to dismiss the case, Tom was ready to take the case to trial.

The result by Thomas Luka: Case Dismissed.

I am 53 years old with a spotless record and glad to keep it that way thanks to the time, effort, hard work, and professionalism of the Adams and Luka and Tom Luka.

Earl from Mesquite
Thomas Luka left a life-long great impression of lawyers. He was always professional, on time, and answered things honestly. From the start and during the 14 months it went on - Tom was very upfront and honest with me about the possible outcomes. The result was better than I had hoped for. Tom really over-delivered. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. Marcela Giorgi
Adams and Luka were very professional and savvy in the courtroom. When you're in court with Mr. Luka you will think you have the best attorney there. I recommend this law firm. Pioneer Tech
Rich Adams is an outstanding criminal attorney. I have had the opportunity to refer several friends and clients to his practice for handling of criminal matters, and on every occasion he has produced an excellent result. Rich practices with attention to detail, a thorough knowledge of the law, and a passion to defend his clients. I will continue to refer clients to Rich Adams, and would strongly recommend him for your legal needs. Brian Pink