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If I get pulled over, does a tip provide probable cause to search my car?
First, a traffic violation serves as
an objectively reasonable basis to pull over a car and briefly detain the
occupants. A lawful traffic stop, even if it is a pretext to stop the driver for
a drug violation, is reasonable regardless of the police officer’s motivation.
Prolonged detention is only justified by a change in circumstances after the
initial traffic stop or probable cause. Probable cause to arrest gives an
officer the right to arrest and perform a subsequent search incident to the
arrest. The probable cause can be supplied by an informant’s information (tip),
if it is a reliable tip and it is corroborated. corroborated. In a bit of
circular logic, if the search reveals what the tipster suggested would be there,
the tip is then corroborated, and the evidence has a better chance of being
admitted in court.