Shrouded, but Persistent

The Court has long held that there is a lesser expectation of privacy attached to vehicles.

4th Amendment - Vehicle Searches (Do's and Don'ts )

Roe , F. The suspect merely has to have the vehicle in his possession at the scene of the arrest. The entire passenger area can be searched. Texas v. White , U. If an officer has probable cause to search a vehicle after stopping it, the officer can move the vehicle to the station to conduct the search. South Dakota v. Opperman , U. Any drugs or other evidence or contraband can be lawfully seized. Pennsylvania v. Mimms , US -The driver can be ordered out of a vehicle, without suspicion, on routine traffic stops.

The officer's safety greatly outweighs the inconvenience to the driver. State of New York v. Perlman -The Suffolk County District Court ruled that an external test of a radar device is required to prove the device is accurate. Rakas v. Illinois , U. Officers searched the vehicle where ammo and a sawed-off shotgun were found.

The passengers denied ownership of the evidence. The driver and passengers were convicted of armed robbery. The passengers tried to get the evidence suppressed on Fourth Amendment grounds. The Supreme Court held that they had no standing because they had no expectation of privacy.

Vehicle Stops

Fourth Amendment rights are personal rights and cannot be vicariously asserted. State of Wisconsin v. Hanson , 85 Wis. That the radar device was in proper working condition at the time of the arrest. This will be established by proof that suggested methods of testing the proper functioning of the device were followed. That the device was used in an area where road conditions are such that there is a minimum possibility of distortion. That the input speed of the patrol car must be verified, this being especially important where there is a reasonable dispute that road conditions may have distorted the accuracy of the reading i.

That the speed meter should be expertly tested within a reasonable proximity following the arrest and that such testing be done by means which do not rely on the radar device's own internal calibrations. Delaware v. Prouse , US -Non-standarized random traffic stops conducted for the purpose of checking driver licenses violates the Fourth Amendment. New York v. Belton , U. See Arizona v.

Can the Police Legitimately Search My Vehicle Without a Warrant?

Gant [] Can a police officer search a vehicle incident to arrest if the arrestee is detained in handcuffs in the back of the officer's vehicle? Courts around the country have wrestled with this question with opposite rulings. Many courts have ruled that the search is not justified because the arrestee could not possibly escape handcuffs, then the police unit cage, and get to the arrestee's vehicle to obtain a weapon or destroy evidence.

Other courts have ruled that this type of search is justifiable as a search incident to arrest. The US Supreme Court wanted a straightforward rule to settle this issue. The court ruled that a police officer can search the vehicle incident to arrest as long as:. There was a lawful custodial arrest.

The search was contemporaneous to the arrest.


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The arrestee was an occupant of the vehicle just before the arrest. The search is limited to the passenger area of the vehicle. Cortez , US -A vehicle can be stopped based on reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred, not just a traffic offense. Michigan v. Thomas , U. United States v. Ross , US - Held: Police officers who have legitimately stopped an automobile and who have probable cause to believe that contraband is concealed somewhere within it may conduct a warrantless search of the vehicle that is as thorough as a magistrate could authorize by warrant.

Florida v. Meyers , U. Welsh v. Wisconsin , U.

FOURTH AMENDMENT, SEARCH AND SEIZURE, POLICE SEARCH, WARRANTLESS SEARCH

He walked home and went to bed. The officer arrived and was let into the residence by the defendant's step-daughter. The defendant was arrested and charged with DUI. Held: The warrantless, nighttime entry of petitioner's home to arrest him for a civil, nonjailable traffic offense, was prohibited by the special protection afforded the individual in his home by the Fourth Amendment.

California v. Carney , U. Just because the vehicle is more like a home than most other vehicles, it is irrelevant to the issue.


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  8. The court indicated that the motor home must be readily mobile. If the motor home is parked and set up as a residence, and steps have been taken to make the vehicle immobile, it will probably be considered a residence, not a vehicle. Hensley , U. The police can also make a traffic stop based on information from a "wanted flyer" if the flyer was based on articulable facts supporting a reasonable suspicion that a person committed an offense.

    Johns , U. Class , US -A person does not have a privacy interest in the V. Class was stopped on traffic for speeding and a cracked windshield.

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    Can the Police Legitimately Search My Vehicle Without a Warrant? - FindLaw

    The officer wanted to inspect the V. The officer had to enter the vehicle and move items covering the V. When he entered the vehicle he found a gun. The court ruled that the steps to inspect the V. It should be noted that. Colorado v. Bertine , U. Department policy gave the officer discretion on whether to impound the vehicle, have someone pick it up, or leave it parked.

    The Fourth Amendment does not require the officer to choose a lesser intrusive alternative to the impound. The impound and inventory were Constitutionally permissible actions. The court imposed two criteria for a proper vehicle inventory:. The agency must establish standardized criteria on how an inventory will be conducted.

    The officer does not act in bad faith or for the sole purpose of conducting a warrantless search. Alabama v. White , US -An anonymous tipster's information is completely lacking in reliability when taken by itself. Further police investigation that corroborates the tipster's information, however, can develop sufficient information to justify at least an investigatory stop.

    Acevedo , US -Police, in a search extending only to a container within an automobile, may search the container without a warrant where they have probable cause to believe that it holds contraband or evidence. Nielsen , 9 F.

    Conclusion

    See U. Downs 10th Cir for further information. Parker , 72 F. Labron , U. Later cases, however, further justified a warrantless search based on a person's reduced expectation of privacy in an automobile. The vehicle does not have to be mobile. In this case, the defendant was retrieving drugs from a parked vehicle then selling them on the street.

    The defendant tried to get the evidence thrown out using the argument that the vehicle was not mobile. Lower courts agreed, but the Supreme Court said the warrantless search of the automobile was legal. Speight v.


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