No Reasonable Suspicion is Required Prior to Asking for Voluntary Consent to Search a Vehicle at a Traffic Detention

By: Wallin & Klarich

Most courts rule that no reasonable suspicion is required prior to asking for voluntary consent to search a vehicle at a traffic detention. (United States v. Burton, 334 F.3d 514, 2003). However, the prosecution carries a heavy burden to show that the consent was truly voluntary (United States v. Flores, 48 F.3d 467, 1995).

When law enforcement stops a vehicle, mere questioning of the driver does not create a detention such that Miranda rights must be read to the driver. In the same way, asking a driver for consent to search a vehicle does not independently create a detention.

Understanding the lawfulness of a traffic stop and subsequent vehicle search requires a deep understanding of the Constitution and how it applies to specific facts of the case.
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Posted In: Criminal Defense