VIC Car Searched by Police - Invasion of Privacy?

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now


1 February 2016
Good evening,

Last evening, I was stopped at midnight. I had pulled to the side of the road to take a phone call and then parked in a car park so I could talk for longer.

As my call finished, I went to leave the car park and 2 officers in a patrol car pulled up to my vehicle so I put my window down and asked how I can help them. They then did the normal procedure - came over asked for my license. No problems.

They asked what I was doing there. I said, "I just pulled off the road to take a call." They then asked if I had anything I shouldn't in the vehicle. I said "no" and then they said "ok, we are just going to have a quick search if that's alright" to which I replied "I would prefer that you didn't. I have some embarrassing things in my car I don't want other people to see", They asked me what objects I had. I told them what they were adult toys and I would find it very embarrassing.

One of the officers walked around the other side of the vehicle and opened my passenger door asked me if there was anything in the glove box or center console. I replied "no" and then said again I didn't want them to search my vehicle.

The other police officer at this point said they were allowed as there was reasonable suspicion because it was a bad area I was passing through and people use drugs there which I assume is what they were searching for.

I'm not sure what happened was wrong in the eyes of Criminal Law but I was very embarrassed by the incident and couldn't see how I could be seen as reasonably suspicious. Maybe I'm overreacting but it's rattled me a bit. I don't know where I stand in regards to this manner as I'm finding conflicting answers on web searches. It doesn't help that I have Aspergers which affects how well I can communicate a point across.

The only thing I could find which might apply is something I found which says:

"Special situations involving drugs and weapons
(a) Search and seizure if you’re suspected of a drug offence

Police have extra powers if you are reasonably suspected of possessing, trafficking or cultivating drugs. These powers include searching:

  • On the person;
  • On or in your vehicle; or
  • On an animal.
A police officer may enter your house (or other premises) under their general powers of entry and search."

If the area matters at all, it was in Corio, Victoria near Geelong, which I guess must be a bad area for drugs.

If anyone could shed some light on this I would be truly thankful, so I can take necessary precautions in the future to prevent a horrible evening like this. I'm not a criminal, I just want my privacy.


Well-Known Member
10 February 2015
Police can search if they have 'reasonable grounds' to believe there could be drugs.

Reasonable grounds/suspicion would need to extend beyond you being in a 'bad' area. Plenty of people go to 'bad' areas for lawful purposes. I would have refused the search.

Reasonable suspicion needs to be based on more than a location ie: prior convictions for drugs; observed a number of people approach the vehicle, things pass between people and then leave in a short spate of time; can observe drug paraphernalia in the car.