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Rule Governing The Search and Seizure of Motor Vehicles – Flowchart

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RULE GOVERNING THE SEARCH AND SEIZURE OF MOTOR VEHICLES – FLOWCHART

 

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires that, prior to any search or seizure action, the police obtain a warrant, based on probable cause and specifically describing the place to be searched and the items to be seized.

If evidence is illegally obtained in violation of the protections of the Fourth Amendment, then the evidence may be tossed out or “suppressed,” pursuant to the Exclusionary Rule. Evidence that is suppressed cannot be used against you in court. There are, though numerous exceptions to the warrant requirement and the Exclusionary Rule, and many of those exceptions relate to motor vehicle searches.

The Supreme Court has held that we have a lesser expectation of privacy in a motor vehicle than we do in our home. We drive vehicles out in public and park them on public streets; the interior of most vehicles is plainly visible to anyone passing by. Moreover, vehicles are mobile, so if a law enforcement officer has to take the time to get a search warrant, the vehicle could easily be moved before the warrant can be executed. Consequently, different rules apply to vehicle searches. Even so, if these rules are violated, the Exclusionary Rule will keep the evidence out of court.

The following charts describe the rules that apply to vehicle searches and the analysis used to determine if a search and/or seizure of evidence was lawful.

CHART CONTENTS

1. When do the rules for vehicle searches apply?
2. What are the exceptions to the warrant requirement for searches and seizures involving vehicles?
3. Did the officer make a legal traffic stop?
4. At a legal traffic stop, what is the officer allowed to do?
5. How are law enforcement officers allowed to use roadblocks (checkpoints)?
6. Is evidence found in the search of an impounded vehicle admissible?
7. When is an RV (recreational vehicle) considered a vehicle?

 

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Our mission is to help keep good people out of jail by balancing the criminal justice playing field so that each of our clients has a fighting chance to achieve realistic outcomes for their individual legal situations.

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54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Divelbiss is bright, hard-working, and well-versed in criminal law. His legal writing is superb, and his commitment to his clients is outstanding. He will fight for you and offer you the best defense possible. Additionally, he is a pleasure to work with. I fully endorse this lawyer.”


J.S.

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“I hired Zachary after I found myself charged with a felony. He put me at ease right away and during the whole process he explained each step to where I understood everything and was always available for any questions I had. ”


S.N.

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Zachary is a brilliant attorney, I highly recommend his company to resolve any legal/criminal matter satisfactorily. He still continue to work on my case to tie some loose ends. He is intelligent , prompt and a problem solver. I thank him a million times to protect my dignity and reputation.”


D.G.

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“I have had the pleasure of working with Mr. Divelbiss in the past and know him to be a hard working professional. His attention to detail and care for his clients set him apart from the rest!”


Joshua Black, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Divelbiss is a hard worker and will advocate for his clients with an attention to detail that you don’t see very often these days.”


Brandon White, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Divelbiss is bright, hard-working, and well-versed in criminal law. His legal writing is superb, and his commitment to his clients is outstanding. He will fight for you and offer you the best defense possible. Additionally, he is a pleasure to work with. I fully endorse this lawyer.”


Josephine Hallam, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Mr. Divelbiss and I worked in the same office, although we were at different law firms. He was eager to learn and developed a reputation for honesty and zealous advocacy.”


Kristopher Califano, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Mr. Divelbiss is a GREAT attorney, very honest and reliable. He takes his times with every client and answers all questions and concerns. Is been a pleasure working with Mr. Divelbiss and he serves his clients very well!”


Allen Hsu, Attorney