Maryland Gun Inspections for Firearm Possession

Many people who are charged with gun offenses are charged following routine traffic stops that lead to Maryland gun inspections for firearm possession. Often, the police will someone over for a traffic offense or on suspicion of another offense, and find the firearm while searching the car. In some cases, these searches are unconstitutional which can impact the case. If an individual feels that they were subject to an unfair search or that their rights were violated, they should contact an experienced gun lawyer who can incorporate that into an individual’s defense.

Methods of Initiating a Car Search

There are a couple of different ways that law enforcement could end up searching a person’s car. The police can ask the court for a warrant to search a car. They would have to explain to a judge why they want to search the car and why they have a reasonable belief that the car contains some important piece of evidence.

Oftentimes, the police do not use a warrant. They stop the vehicle and something happens or they see something that leads them to conduct the search of the car, and that is allowed under Maryland law. Police officers do not have to get a warrant to search a vehicle. Sometimes they do, but that scenario is limited. It is because cars are mobile and somebody could drive away and dispose of evidence very quickly, so police officers are allowed to conduct Maryland gun inspections for firearm possession right away, under certain circumstances.

Consenting to a Search

Those different scenarios that could result in Maryland gun inspections for firearm possession, including if the defendant were to confess to a search. If an officer asks to search a person’s car and they consent, the police can then search that vehicle. If a police officer sees in plain view something that leads them to believe that there is some sort of criminal activity going on, they can immediately start searching the vehicle more thoroughly, and charge the individual based on what they find. Even if the police stopped the vehicle for something completely unrelated, like a speeding violation, if they see something that leads them to believe that there is contraband or something illegal in the vehicle they can have everybody get out of the car and search it.

Role of Police Dogs in Searches

Something else that law enforcement can do if they are suspicious about the car and its contents, is have a police dog come and sniff the car and some of the exterior, which is allowable under Maryland law. If the canine detects controlled dangerous substances, then that also would give the officer the immediate ability to search the car. There are a lot of different ways that a police officer could end up searching a person’s car.

Probable Cause

Probable cause seems to be the element that is missing in certain Maryland gun inspections for firearm possession. Frequently if an officer can articulate that they had contact with a person and they suspect that a person was involved in criminal activity, they would be able to conduct a pat down, which is also called a frisk. The police are patting the person’s clothing to see if there are any items that are the shape and/or size of a firearm. Then, there are much more intrusive searches of inspection of a person. Those searches and inspections can go up the spectrum to actually requiring a person to remove their clothing and be searched.

Stop and Frisk

Police officers can do a pat down of anyone if they have reason to believe that the person is in possession of firearms. That is one of the most abused Fourth Amendment exceptions in criminal law, because under certain circumstances a police officer can conduct what is called a stop and frisk. This is utilized a lot in criminal court. The police stop someone and they immediately conduct the pat-down of the person, basically of their pockets, the outer components of their clothing; however, this does not include going into somebody’s pockets.

The police will testify that they patted someone down because they believe that they had a reasonable suspicion that some sort of criminal activities had taken place. A lot of times judges will say that pat downs are acceptable. It is not because the law requires not just that the officer believes that the person was potentially involved in some sort of criminal activity but they also have to be able to articulate that they think that the person is armed and dangerous which is what initiated the Maryland gun inspections for firearm possession. If an individual has been stopped and frisked and feels that their rights were violated, they should talk to a skilled gun lawyer that could work to defend them and protect their rights.