Having a firm understanding of the rights you have during a Georgia traffic stop may help you stay out of legal trouble and streamline your interactions with law enforcement. When a law enforcement official pulls you over and asks to search your car, the rules are a bit different than they would be if an officer came to your house and requested to do the same thing.

According to FlexYourRights.org, authorities need to have a warrant in their possession if they want to look around your home and you prefer they do not do so. However, if they want to look in your car during a traffic stop and you do not consent, all they have to have is something called probable cause.

Probable cause

Probable cause has to be more than just a hunch or suspicion that you or someone in your vehicle is up to no good. For an officer to have probable cause, he or she must have some form of evidence or proof that something illegal took place to move forward with a search you do not permit. An example of probable cause might be if a law enforcement officer looks in your car from the outside and sees drugs, stolen property or an open container inside.

The absence of probable cause

If the officer who stops you does not have probable cause, a warrant or your permission to conduct the search, you do not have to allow it to move forward. Tell the officer who stopped you as much and be clear and succinct when doing so.

Keep in mind that it almost always pays to stay calm and remain polite when interacting with law enforcement, even if you do not plan to allow them to look around your vehicle.