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When Are the Police Allowed to Search your Car?

Generally, police officers are not allowed to search your car without a warrant, your permission or a valid reason to do so. They can search it without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe there is incriminating evidence inside. The courts generally give the police more leeway when searching a car than searching a residence. 

Arrest for traffic offenses

The laws in most states authorize police officers to arrest drivers for traffic offenses, such as failure to wear a seat belt or speeding. In such situations, they may have legal justification for subsequently searching a car and in other cases, they may not. 

The validity of a subsequent search depends on the circumstances. If the reason for the stop is a minor offense, such as speeding, a reasonable officer would be unlikely to search your car without a significant reason. 

Searches incident to arrest

When the police arrest someone, they are able to conduct a limited search of a car without having a warrant. This is to obtain evidence related to the arrest or ensure officer safety. For instance, the police may conduct a search to look for illegal drugs if they’re arresting you for drug possession. 

If the arrestee is already in handcuffs in the back of the police car, he or she isn’t able to reach for a weapon and so the police can’t use officer safety to justify a search. Police brutality lawyers often deal with cases where officer safety is used to justify actions, such as the use of excessive force. 

A case of unconstitutional search

In the case of Arizona vs. Gant, police officers apprehended Rodney Gant for driving with a suspended license. They handcuffed him, placed him in the squad car and went on to search his vehicle, where they found a bag of cocaine and a handgun. 

The Arizona Supreme Court eventually found that the search was unconstitutional because Gant had left his car voluntarily, the search was not directly linked to the arrest, and it, therefore, violated the Fourth Amendment. 

Consent searches

The police may ask a driver for consent to search a car if they are unsure whether they have the legal right to do so. The driver’s consent must be freely and voluntarily given. 

Contacting a local attorney listed at USAttorneys.com will help you if you believe you were coerced into allowing the police to search your car. Consent that is coerced is invalid and an attorney can help you to prove this. 

Inventory searches

Police have to follow strict procedures when it comes to an inventory search. If they lawfully impound your vehicle, they can make an inventory of the items in it. The reason why they have impounded the car doesn’t matter. It may be for something as serious as car theft or something as simple as a parking violation. 

When a car is impounded, the search is not designed to gather evidence but to allow the police to protect the contents. It also allows the police to safeguard themselves against any claims that they mishandled or stole items. If they come across incriminating evidence in the course of an inventory search, it can be used against you. 

 Why you need legal help

Whether a car search is considered legal depends very much on the facts of your case. As seen in the case of Rodney Gant, a search may be dismissed if it’s considered a violation of the Fourth Amendment. A qualified and experienced attorney will be familiar with the law and able to help you to understand your legal options. 

March 10, 2020 / by / in
Challenges and Progress in Mitigating Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos has been mined for over a century in the U.S. and other countries. Despite knowledge of its danger in causing debilitating diseases and death since the early 1900s, mining continued in the U.S. 

Additionally, many asbestos products continued to be imported into the country for decades, largely ignoring the threat to human life. This article examines a few of the challenges posed in eliminating exposure to this toxic material, and the progress made in the course of such efforts.

Asbestos – a lucrative mining product

A massive drawback in criminalizing the mining of asbestos has been its commercial value. Touted as a miraculous mineral due to its desirable properties, its varied use made it highly profitable. Asbestos is extremely flame-resistant, is very strong and flexible. These properties ensured that it was useful in many housing materials as insulation and for fireproofing.

Additionally, asbestos has been added to textiles and vehicle products where friction resistance is desired, such as brakes, clutches and transmission parts. It has been used as coatings for a myriad of manufactured items where fireproofing is required. Shockingly, it has also been found in coloring crayons made for children, and in makeup products made for teenagers. 

The many commercial applications of this chemical have made it problematic to limit or eliminate its applications. Moreover, many jobs were created in this industry, posing more challenges to bringing the mining of this chemical to a stop. Profitability has, therefore, been a major challenge in diminishing the hazards of toxic exposure, despite the carcinogenic effects on humans.

From identification of asbestosis in 1906 to acknowledgment in 1972

The dangers of exposure to asbestos and asbestos dust slowly became apparent over the decades. Taking up to 50 years to develop into full-blown diseases, complicated its identification as a highly toxic material to human health. The first case of asbestosis was identified in 1906, but it was only in 1972, a full 66 years later, that the government stepped in.

A few standards were then implemented by the Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Labor Department. These measures required medical observation, protective clothing, warning notices, and several others. 

During 1989, the U.S. EPA or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made attempts to achieve a complete ban on this chemical. These efforts followed the realization that a major number of the 100,000 children’s schools in the U.S., together with over 700,000 U.S. buildings contained asbestos.

Corrosion Proof Fittings was one of the large companies that instigated legal action against the EPA’s attempts to ban asbestos. The company was successful in getting the ban lifted. Since this time, a large number of companies have eliminated the use of asbestos in their products due to the severe volume of health consequences posed by continued use.

2016 Introduces advances in recognition of toxic asbestos

Only in 2016 did Congress finally apply important regulation changes concerning asbestos toxicity. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was updated, providing the EPA with the necessary leverage to outlaw toxic substances, unlike the 1989 court ruling against the EPA. 

Further progress has since been achieved in elimination of asbestos usage across the U.S. Due to the complexity of the laws linked with this asbestos industry, its products and the threats faced by exposure to this chemical, Congress took the decision to eliminate its use altogether. 

In positive mesothelioma news, all asbestos was totally banned during March of 2019, enabling the EPA to more fully protect the U.S. people from all toxic materials. 

Further challenges and progress in relation to asbestos exposure 

The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019, in conjunction with the H.R. 1603, delivers a complete solution to the banning of asbestos. This bill doesn’t tolerate any exemptions, exceptions or exclusions to the acknowledgment of the toxicity of asbestos, highlighting welcome progress in this matter.

Greater knowledge of the dangers posed by asbestos exposure has become more mainstream. Improved knowledge has highlighted the threats of exposure, furthering the drive for the complete elimination of this product from society.

Until asbestos use has been removed from human habitat, many remain at risk, and occupational risk of exposure in construction and related industries. Prevention through safety measures remains key to the elimination of diseases caused by this chemical in the interim. Primary cautions in the presence of suspected asbestos remain that it should not be disturbed or touched and that a professional should be called in to manage the situation.

March 3, 2020 / by / in