Vehicle Searches Once Again Considered By the U.S. Supreme Court

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court decided whether the driver of a rental car could claim Fourth Amendment protections after a search of his vehicle. Latasha Reed rented a vehicle listing only her name as an authorized driver on the rental agreement. She then walked out of the building and handed the keys to Terrence Byrd who drove off with the vehicle. He was later stopped by the police and, upon finding that his name was not on the rental agreement, officers concluded he had no expectation of privacy. They searched the vehicle against Byrd’s wishes. In the trunk, officers found body armor and several bricks of heroin.

In this case, the Court ultimately held that Mr. Byrd could assert an expectation of privacy in the vehicle despite his name not being listed on the rental agreement. In determining whether someone has an expectation of privacy and, as a result, Fourth Amendment protections, the court will often look at whether a person owns, lawfully possesses, or controls the area to be searched and whether or not that person has the right to exclude others.

Suppression motions based on the Fourth Amendment can often be the difference between a favorable result and a unfavorable result in your case. It takes a keen eye to spot good search issues and an attorney with good persuasive writing skills to craft a winning argument. Attorney Scott R. Bigger has won several suppression motions and have seen serious charges dismissed as a result. If you think the police invaded your privacy rights, give Attorney Bigger a call to discuss the matter.

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