I was stopped by the police for suspicion of armed robbery. The police asked me to step out of the car. The police then asked me for registration, driver's license, and proof of insurance. I gave it to them. After they ran me, they realized I was clean and I was not the armed robber. I attempted to leave, but the police refused to allowed me to leave. They told me to wait a minute. I stayed with one cop while the other three cops went to my car, took out their flash lights and looked inside the car, from the outside of the car, with their flash lights. They did not find anything, but this made me angry. My question is: can the police hold me there and look in my car?
I think this is a two part question. I do not think the police can hold you. Once they run you, and you are not the armed robber and your license is clean, you are free to get in your car and drive away. However, I do think that police can look inside any car from the outside the car through the windows at any time for any reason under the plain view doctrine.
Labels: armed robbery, plain view