Imagine a New York police officer stopping you at random while you walk down the street and demanding you turn out your pockets. The officer had no apparent reason to suspect you were committing a crime. Did he have the legal right to search you? Or perhaps a cop stops you one night while you are driving through town and begins to search your vehicle. He takes your backpack and arrests you. Did he violate your rights by searching your car and taking your backpack. As with many legal questions, it depends.
Over the past few years there has been more publicity given to cases in which police were not following proper policies and procedures. This includes situations where police conducted a search of an individual's vehicle, home or person. However, people often wonder: can the police search me whenever they want? The answer to that is no.