If An Officer Walks Around Your Vehicle And Looks Inside The Windows Is That A Search?

Looking Inside A Vehicle From The Outside Is Not A Search

As long as the officer has a legal right to be where the officer is located then walking around the outside of your vehicle and looking inside the windows is not a search.  During a routine traffic stop the officer walking around the vehicle would not be a search.  If the car is parked in a parking lot that is accessible to the public and the officer walks around the vehicle and looks inside the windows that is not a search.  If the officer sees something illegal in the vehicle like drugs, drug paraphernalia or a gun then that will give the officer the required probable cause to legally search the vehicle.

Entry Requires Consent, Probable Cause Or A Warrant

However, if the officer sticks his head inside a rolled down vehicle window or opens a vehicle door to look inside a vehicle that is a search that requires consent, probable cause or a warrant.  Without consent, probable cause or a warrant entering the vehicle makes the search of the vehicle by the officer illegal and any evidence obtained by the officer from that illegal search can be suppressed with a motion to suppress.

Illegal Detention Causes A Illegal Search

If the original traffic stop was illegal then anything obtained as a result of a search from that illegal traffic stop can be suppressed with a motion to suppress.  So if the officer did not have a lawful basis to stop the vehicle the fact that the officer subsequently was given consent by the driver to search the vehicle that does not make the search of the vehicle by the officer legal.  Therefore, any items the vehicle search produced were unlawfully obtained as the result of an illegal stop of the vehicle and the evidence can be suppressed with a motion to suppress.

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