September 13, 2009 By Wallin & Klarich

Evidence from Warrantless Vehicle Search Incident to Passenger’s Arrest is Suppressed where Defendant was Inside Patrol Vehicle when Searched

Defendant, Gonzalez, was convicted of Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition. This conviction resulted when a firearm was found during a June 19, 2006 traffic stop of a car in which Gonzalez was riding. The police, following the arrest of another passenger with outstanding warrants, searched the passenger compartment and found a loaded firearm in side the glove box. Gonzalez filed a motion to suppress; he asserted the search of the car violated his Fourth Amendment rights.

The Supreme Court in Arizona v. Gant, 129 S. Ct. 1710 (2009), held that police may search a vehicle incident to arrest only if the arrested person is within reaching distance of the passenger compartment of the car at the time of the search or it is reasonable to believe that the vehicle contains evidence of the offense of arrest. 129 S. Ct. at 1723-24. When these justifications are absent, a search of an arrestee’s vehicle will be unreasonable unless police obtain a warrant or show that another exception to the warrant requirement applies.

Under the new Supreme Court ruling, the search of Gonzalez’s vehicle was improper because he was handcuffed and secured in a patrol vehicle at the time of the search of the vehicle. As such, the evidence derived from the search was suppressed and Gonzalez’s conviction was reversed.

Wallin and Klarich has years of experience in defending those accused of concealed weapons and firearms cahrges. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges in California and the charge may be barred by the statute of limitations, call Wallin & Klarich. Wallin & Klarich has over 30 years of experience in criminal defense. Call 1-888-280-6839 to speak to one of Wallin & Klarich’s aggressive and experienced California deadly weapons defense attorneys today. Also visit us on the web at

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