United States Supreme Court Rules that Police May Not Automatically Search the Car of Anyone They Pull Over for a Traffic Infraction

By: Wallin & Klarich

Recently in Arizona v. Gant, United States Supreme Court ruled that it was not proper for officers to have the authority to automatically search the car of a person who is stopped over a traffic infraction. The court held that in order to justify a search, the police must either reasonably fear that the arrestee might have access to a weapon in the car or have a reasonable prospect of finding evidence of the crime that the driver committed.

This ruling by the Supreme Court has been welcomed by proponents of individual liberty and privacy interests. However, the ruling has also highlighted what many consider overreaching and potentially unchecked power given to law enforcement. Although the police may not search a car incident to the arrest of a driver who commits a traffic violation, they could legally do so by impounding the vehicle. The courts have held that all evidence discovered by law enforcement during a routine inventory of an impounded vehicle, may be used against the owner.

Proponents of individual liberty and personal privacy rights argue that officers can maneuver around the Supreme Court ruling by simply arresting the driver, conducting a full body search, impounding the vehicle, and inventorying its contents. However, the recent ruling by the Supreme Court in Gant may indicate the courts have begun to question the broad search power given to law enforcement.

If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime, it is imperative that you hire an aggressive, experienced criminal defense firm in CA. Hiring an experienced California criminal defense law firm can greatly increase your chances of keeping your freedom, and ensuring you receive the lowest possible sentence. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been helping people for over 30 years.

Please feel free to contact Wallin & Klarich to discuss your case. You can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-280-6839 or go to our website at www.wklaw.com for more information.

Posted In: Criminal Defense