When can you enter the police in my motorhome?

By: Autocaravan Areas - Published: 12 November, 2019

When can the police entered in my motorhome?” It is a question that we all have in mind when we go into a police control. So let's clarify: all motorhomes are classified as vehicle housing. That is to say, to all intents and purposes is our home. The legislation is clear in that aspect. But there are people who would take this case as a violation of their privacy or an offence against the right to privacy. Do you have reason or not? Can you enter as well for the good?

No, but they can enter in the following cases

If they suspect carry illegal material as:

  • Weapons
  • Drugs
  • Explosives

Or we dedicate ourselves to activities such as:

  • Traffic people
  • Traffic of protected species

In these cases, yes you can do it.

What can we do if we indicate that we open the door to get in?

Here we can distinguish two different cases but with a similar solution:

  • If you are spending the night (parked correctly) on the public highway, and the police will ask you to enter within your motorhome, claiming the alleged illegality (by confusion of the police) camping with parking lot with the idea of verifying if they are sleeping on the inside. This case is unlikely, but if you are concerned, you can always reserve space for overnight stays.
  • The other case, most likely, is to enter with our motorhome at a police checkpoint while we drive.

In these cases, you have two options:

A. to Prevent the access claiming that it is a vehicle housing, in which case, if you have high suspicions that you have something illegal, you can keep yourself, and request a court order for access, and in the meantime you'll be immobilized with the family until you get the order and can enter.
B. Let them enter if you have nothing to hide. You give your consent and you save standing. In the end, they just do their job (don't worry if it doesn't have the interior of your car ready for a visit, sure you have seen worse).

And is there a difference between the cabin of the vehicle and the identity card?

Thing different is the cockpit of the vehicle, which is not considered part of the housing. Therefore, they can enter without the need of any of the foregoing.

What happens in the case of emergency or in case of emergency?

This case tends not to be very common, but could occur. The government decrees alert emergency or state of exception (in which case, certain rights are suspended), for example, a terrorist alert, and create a police cordon (attack, bomb alert, escape of a terrorist, or a suspect to be dangerous...). In this case do not need a court order, may enter with all of the law.

But what if I get into a police control will you ask me to enter?

From my own experience and that of other autocaravanistas with the one I've talked to, when they have been found in controls of the Police or Civil Guard, they only have asked for documentation and never have applied to enter the interior. But who knows?

Legal database, judgements, and other situations

There are more and more judgments which sets out that a motorhome can have the condition of domicile for develop in her the privacy of its occupants. Does not mean that always and in any case is as well.

Ruling: no. 621/2012 dated on 26/06/2012 criminal chamber of Supreme Court:

"It is said in the appeal that as the motorhome has the characteristics suitable to be housing, there should have requested the appropriate commandment of entry and search, and to not be carried out, such diligence is null and void. This is a complaint already made in the instance, and resolved in the judgment, in a sense adverse to what was requested by the appellant.

On page 30 of the judgment it is said:

"....In the caravan, that was not a home but a means of transportation, are involved....".
That a motorhome can have the status of domicile because the privacy of its occupants is developed in it, does not mean that always and in any case it is so. On the contrary, there will be verified if in the particular case prosecuted, along with the transport, developed inside the private life of its occupants.

Obviously, was not this the case of cars, because the motorhome was collected from a campsite, and is made in a single day the journey from Catalonia to the polígono Polvoranca Leganes -Madrid-, and return with the cocaine shipment to the point where they were stopped by the police that he was aware of the operation using the corresponding monitoring and surveillance of the operation as is credited to the folios 916 and following of Volume II of the statement, especially if you take into account that as they say in the statement –page 29– when the caravan was stopped by the police, and opened the driver's door –Xavier E.– the own police officers were able to observe from the outside a few wrapped packages in a similar manner to how you packaged the cocaine.

There was No violation allegations".

In addition we find the possibility of registering a caravan in the customs area, as stated in the Organic Law 12/1995, of 12 December, on Repression of Smuggling:

Article 16.1, which deals with the powers in the matter of recognition and registration of the customs services that they, in the exercise of their control and surveillance functions, may be made to the recognition and registration of any vehicle or means of transport, caravan, package, or bundle.

Jurisprudence of the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court, in the judgment 5761/1995 that it considers that a caravan in which a person has established his residence, even temporarily, is under the protection of article 18.2 of the Constitution.

This doctrine logically is extended to the area of the room of a motorhome in which even being together in the cabin of conduction, and the module housing, yes they are different areas of a same vehicle. All of this regardless of whether the caravan or motorhome is camping or moving.

Even so, recent statements such as the STS 1165/2009, of 24 of November have qualified that the consideration of residence is conditioned by two elements:

a) That the van, motorhome or caravan, in its habitable part, has what is necessary or indispensable to constitute the residence of a user: bedroom, kitchen ... That is, is fitted out as a dwelling.
b) That someone decides to use it and the use it for that purpose even if it is temporarily or accidentally.

That is to say, that in addition to being a caravan or a motorhome, you must fulfill that function, because imagine the case of a caravan without furniture or a camper that lacks furniture, kitchen, bed... or appliances where you can do life. These cases would not have the consideration of home and therefore do not enjoy the fundamental right to the inviolability provided for in article 18.2 of the Spanish Constitution.

The operator area or cab is different

Equate to a vehicle and, therefore, according to the repeated doctrine of the Supreme Court the cars, such as membership Sunday, they lack the protection of privacy stipulated in article 18.2 of the Constitution, so that your registration has not been subject to the requirements of article 545 of the Criminal procedure Act.


Thus, we may conclude that a caravan or living area of a motorhome that is suited for use as a dwelling and use it for this purpose, although it tentatively, enjoying the special protection of the sanctity that emanates from the article 18.2 of the Spanish Constitution, so that the entry and search of the same requires either the consent of the holder, either judicial authorization, or give any of the cases established in art. 553 Lecrim, which are, by way of example: a person caught in flagrant offence or an offender, immediately chased by the Agents of the authority, conceals, or harbors within.

Even so, after exposing all of this we find that the recent amendment of the Organic Law 12/1995, of 12 December, on Repression of Smuggling, operated by the organic Law 6/2001 laid down in article 16.1, that is the competence in matters of recognition and registration of the customs services that, in the exercise of their functions of control and surveillance, may be made to the recognition and registration of any vehicle or means of transport, caravan, package, or bundle."

Final tips

  • Treat the security forces with education and respect, they're just doing their job. In this way they will also respect you.
  • If they ask for any documentation, don't be nervousand muéstrensela.
  • If you have nothing to hide, just let them pass and before you will be able to follow his path.
  • Though they may not agree with his actions, don't protest, wait for that to complete the actions of the police to show your disagreement in a polite.

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