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What is the Motor Vehicle Exception?

The automobile, or motor vehicle exception allows officers to search cars for evidence, contraband, and fruits or instrumentalities of crimes without a search warrant. When you ask cops, “What does it take to search these cars?” Many of them will just say, “Probable cause.”  Well, let’s be technical, Technically, legally, there are four factors to […]

Single Purpose Container Doctrine

Today’s question is from an officer in Indiana; Would the single purpose container doctrine allow cops to search a vehicle’s hidden compartment?  The first thing we want to learn is: What is a single purpose container?  The single purpose container doctrine basically says that some containers, due to their shape, weight, size, material and the […]

Vehicle Trunk Search

This question came from an officer in New Jersey.  Can police search the trunk of a car on the motor vehicle exception? The hypothetical goes something like this: patrol was notified of a suspicious person and vehicle.  They found a male under the influence of heroin located right outside the vehicle.  A semi-conscious female was […]

Vehicle Search on Curtilage

We have a great question here today from an officer in the great state of Texas.  Alright, so the question is, “Can you search a vehicle on curtilage with exigency?” And let’s go to the scenario.  The officer is called to a noise complaint.  Upon arrival at a house, he sees a car in the […]

Consent from Non-Owner to Search Vehicle

Let’s talk about non-owners of vehicles and getting their consent to search, and a few twists on that as well. My name is Anthony Bandiero, answering another roadside chat question. Alright, this question comes from an officer in Minnesota. He says, “Could a driver of a motor vehicle who is not the owner, consent to […]

Searching a Parked and Unoccupied Car in New Jersey with PC

Can New Jersey police officers search a parked and unoccupied car with probably cause? Great question. My name is Anthony Bandiero. I’m an attorney and senior legal instructor for Blue to Gold Law Enforcement Training. I do teach in New Jersey, and I’m a licensed New Jersey attorney. This answer is obviously going to be […]

Can Police Officers Open a Car Door for ID Check?

Can officers open a car door if the driver refuses to identify themselves? I’m Anthony Bandiero, attorney and senior legal instructor for Blue to Gold Law Enforcement Training. This question comes from an Officer in Arizona. Here is the scenario. An officer basically makes a traffic stop, and the driver is refusing to identify themselves, […]

Breaking a Car Window to Retrieve A Firearm

This one is a good one. It comes from an officer from Southern California. The question is, “Can cops break a car window to retrieve a firearm that is evidence?” Let me give you the background here. This was a computer call for service. The victim says that she was assaulted with a gun. The […]

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