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Posted: 3/22/2006 10:50:07 AM EDT
Another thread got me thinking. Since almost all new vehicles don't have a seperate 'trunk' that can not be accessed from the passenger compartment anymore, what exactly are the protections or lack there of for property stored in the "cargo area".

I own a hatch-back and an SUV niether of which have a totally seperate trunk. So in what instances during a traffic stop would the officer have the right to start going through it. I'm aware once arrested the officer can 'inventory' the car. I aslo know that once contraband is seen (or sensed as it were) they have a reasonable suspision to start looking around but what other senarios are there in general?

Does a lockable container afford you some privacy minus a warrent?

How does that affect firearms and their transport? I mean I have an SKS that I can not find a case long enough for so if I toss it in the ass of my SUV sans case is it still covered by FOPA? I'd never really thought about it much before. Now I'm curious.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 12:31:56 PM EDT
Nothing?
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 12:38:01 PM EDT
Try the LEGAL section here.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 12:49:48 PM EDT
Good point. I'll move it.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 1:11:54 PM EDT
The bottom line is if a cop gets a gut feeling and wants to search your trunk, he's gonna do it. If he finds anything, he'll articulate his reasoning for why he searched your trunk in court.

In the meantime, you're gonna have to defend yourself in a criminal action.

Link Posted: 3/22/2006 1:20:46 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DOW:
The bottom line is if a cop gets a gut feeling and wants to search your trunk, he's gonna do it. If he finds anything, he'll articulate his reasoning for why he searched your trunk in court.

In the meantime, you're gonna have to defend yourself in a criminal action.




I understand that part, I suppose you know the line when you say "no" and they don't search but I'd rather know the general exceptions in the law before I get asked the question. Cops do ask that question and sometimes even press a bit about how they can just do it anyway. I'm just looking to know what I can do to make sure I take full advantage of my privacy. Not to be a dick but because I don't want to allow 'just because' searches.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 1:28:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/22/2006 1:33:30 PM EDT by NewbieDave]
Each state may different a bit when it comes to LEO and search and seizer. Also keep in mind your state law when it comes to transportation of weapons.

In general, if the LEO can’t see anything… he doesn’t have probable cause to ask for a search of that area. So if you have a separate trunk that he cannot see, he can request to search it but you can denial that request. If you do denial the search, he has probable cause to either ask you more questions relating to the denial, or call in a K9 unit. But if the K9 doesn’t smell anything and the questioning go nowhere… they really don’t have the right to hold you for a simple traffic infarction. Since they can’t see into the trunk, they don’t have a solid reason to search it nor will any judge give a blanket search warrant. Now if the K9 smells something… than yes, they now have probable cause relating to possible drugs. For area that’s not cover and anyone can see, you have no protection.

Now, if a LEO ask you if you have any weapons in your car or on your person, you have to tell them the true because they do have the right to ask that question and get the honest answer… since it’s for their own protection. Not telling the truth would be lying to LEO, moving your traffic infraction to a misdemeanor. I think most state is fine with weapons in trunk as long as you can’t grab it easily. But if you have no case, I recommend a good cable lock to bypass the storage case rule… because the basic concept behind storing the weapon in a case is to make it harder to access easily. If you have no trunk, I recommend a case/cable-lock in the storage area of your hatch/SUV, than place a blanket to cover it.

As far as the above post... yes, if a LEO wants to search... he can make it work out so that a search happens. But you'll win in court since you'll probable can all the evidences thrown out for illegal search-n-seizer. Search-n-seizer cases has pretty define what can or cannot be done... I'm not saying all LEO is up-to-date on what's legal (they should be, I would hope), but it's going to come down to a court case and how good your lawyer is.

Let say this... you have illegal porn material in your trunk. LEO ask you if you have drugs or weapon, you answer NO (the truth) but your reaction is off and he has a gut feeling you are lying to him. He'll ask for consent to search, which you can denial (your right). The LEO’s next step should be asking for a K9 to smell for drugs. This is the important item here, drugs. If the K9 smell nothing is out of place, and he still search your trunk… at which point find the illegal porn material, he’ll probably arrest you. But in court, that material can get thrown out since he never had probable cause to continue his search.

BUT… I’m no lawyer, so keep that in mind.


~nb
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