SCOPE OF MOTOR VEHICLE SEARCH
When an individual motorist is stopped by a police officer for a traffic violation or for another reason bringing about a reasonable suspicion that a crime is occurring or about to occur a police officer can detain the individual motorist on the side of the roadway. But how long cans this detention last? Or what is the scope of motor vehicle searches? The Scope of motor vehicle searches will rests upon the various circumstances and facts found within a given case.
The amount of time an officer can detain an individual is not specific or certain, but rather the amount of time is based upon the initial stop. What this means is that an officer can detain an individual for an amount of time that it takes for the officer to determine whether the individual motorist is capable of operating the vehicle and the police officer has issued a warning or citation. However, this does not limit the officer to simply ask the driver for his or her paperwork, but it still limits the scope of motor vehicle searches, generally speaking.
In fact, an officer can remove the driver from the vehicle, question the driver about unrelated issues, wait for another patrol car to arrive, and check the driver?s driving record and criminal history, to name a few. The scope of motor vehicle searches is again limited to the articulable?facts and suspicion raised by the police officer and the situation.
Therefore, the scope of motor vehicle searches can be extended by?an officer if the officer discovers more facts revealing another infraction or crime beyond the reason for the initial stop. This ideal is founded in the United States Constitution. Michigan?s Constitution seems to provide an officer from questioning an individual motorists on unrelated issues not connected to the initial stop unless the officer is able to demonstrate reasonable suspicion for extending the scope of his or her questioning. But again the scope of motor vehicle searches, even under Michigan case law, will be fact determinate and based upon the officer’s observations?and testimony. However, this does not mean that the scope of motor vehicle searches are simply at the whim of an arresting officer, rather it will be based upon what the officer can articulate into reasonable suspicion and then probable cause.
To conclude if an officer does exceed the scope of motor vehicle search allowed within ?a?criminal investigation?it could lead to the suppression or dismissal of specific evidence obtained during that investigation. In order to ensure your constitutional rights within a criminal trial or within a criminal court, contact a Michigan criminal lawyer today. It is beyond important to look at every stage of a traffic stop to determine the necessary legal scope and boundaries police officer must uphold. Josh Jones maintains a full-service criminal defense firm for those in Genesee County, Lapeer County, Livingston County, and Metro Detroit (Oakland, Wayne & Macomb Counties).
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