Episode 177

Published on:

7th Sep 2021

PC and Parked Motor Vehicles

In this archive episode, Dennis discusses the circumstances for PC regarding searching parked motor vehicles. Recorded on 09/16/2017

State v Colvin 1991

The "automobile exception" permits police to stop and search a moving or readily movable vehicle when there is probable cause to believe the vehicle contains criminally related objects. It also applies to parked motor vehicles.

The rationale for this exception is grounded in the exigent circumstances created by the inherent mobility of vehicles and the somewhat lessened expectation of privacy in one's vehicle. [State v. Patino, 83 N.J. 1, 9, 414 A.2d 1327 (1980).].

We hold that when, without advance planning when police encounter a parked car and have probable cause to believe that the vehicle contains criminal contraband such as drugs, and have articulable reasons to believe that the evidence may otherwise be lost or destroyed, they may seize and search the vehicle for the contraband without the necessity of a warrant.

The ability to search a car does not depend on whether or not it is parked or moving, just remember that it must be unforeseeable and spontaneous.


State v Patino


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Street Cop Podcast
The official Street Cop Training Podcast. The Training That Cops Deserve.
The Street Cop Podcast with Dennis Benigno, the founder, and CEO of Street Cop Training.

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