Brief Fact Summary. The defendant, Charles Carney (the “defendant”), was arrested for possession of marijuana for sale, after police surveyed the defendant’s parked motor home. The police did not obtain a warrant for the arrest and subsequent search.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. There is no search warrant requirement for a motor vehicle as there would be for a more permanent structure such as a home or building, due to the inherent lower expectation of privacy for a motor vehicle.
Issue. Whether the police needed a search warrant to search the parked mobile home?
Held. The Supreme Court of the United States (“Supreme Court”) held that the police did not need a search warrant before searching the motor home. The Supreme Court referred to their ruling as the “automobile exception,” which states that there is a lesser degree of protection for motor vehicles because they can be quickly moved out of the area. The Supreme Court added that the open nature of vehicles as compared with a permanent structure would warrant a lesser expectation of privacy. Government regulation of vehicles would also suggest that there is a lower expectation of privacy for a vehicle as compared to a fixed structure.
This fundamental right is preserved by a requirement that searches be conducted pursuant to a warrant issued by an independent judicial officer.View Full Point of Law