Search and Seizure

Law / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
This paper examines “The Automobile Exception” which permits a search and seizure policy.

This paper discusses the history and constitutional development of the “Automobile Exception” to the search warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment which originated in 1924. The automobile exception allows police officers to search and seize a vehicle without a search warrant. It cites several relevant cases such as New York vs.Belton, California vs. Camey and their legal precedents.
“A woman and a man are sitting on a park bench chatting. A police officer approaches and notices a syringe in the man’s shirt pocket. The officer asks the man why he has a syringe, and the man replies that he uses it to take drugs. The officer seizes a handbag that is close to the woman; he proceeds to search the handbag and removes the contents including her wallet and identification. Under the current law, this search would violate the Fourth Amendment since the officer did not first obtain a search warrant. However, in Wyoming v. Houghton’, the United States Supreme Court held that a similar search was not a violation of the Fourth Amendment. The only difference was that the man and woman were in an automobile, and the search fell under an exception to the Fourth Amendment, commonly called the automobile exception”, which was created in 1924 in the case Carroll vs. The United States. The automobile exception is an exception to the Fourth Amendment which eliminates the need for a search warrant when there is probable cause to believe that an automobile contains contraband or instruments/evidence of criminal activity. This paper will examine the history of the automobile exception and important cases that have involved and shaped this constitutional exception.”

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