Criminal Law

I have a question about the case law specifically related to…

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I have a question about the case law specifically related to the 'Search incident arrest laws" for Maryland. If a person is pulled over in a vehicle, told he/she was stopped for an illegal lane change, then told that because the officer THINKS he smells alcohol he is taken out of the vehicle. given a field sobriety test (passes), then... Read full answer
I have a question about the case law specifically related to the 'Search incident arrest laws" for Maryland. If a person is pulled over in a vehicle, told he/she was stopped for an illegal lane change, then told that because the officer THINKS he smells alcohol he is taken out of the vehicle. given a field sobriety test (passes), then given a breathalyzer (passes), asked to wait standing outside the vehicle about 10 feet behind the bumper. THEN after about 10 total minutes outside the car during which time another officer is seen and heard calling the vehicles license tag in and 10 minutes later he is told he is being arrested for a stolen license plate. THEN the officers search the inside of the vehicle, the trunk and a locked bank bag and allegedly find items that they claim to be illegal. My question is should the search incident arrest still apply since the person was OUTSIDE of the vehicle for a long time, the item they claim was stolen was on the outside of the car and ALSO they DID NOT TOW the vehicle as it was legally parked in a parking space so saying they searched it for inventory does not apply.
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Answered in 7 minutes by:
6/6/2018
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 135,541
Experience: Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
Verified

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

No, this is no search incident to arrest and also it is likely to be contrary to the US Supreme Court case in Arizona v. Gant, where the court said they cannot use such an arrest or detention as a pretext for inventory search. Based on what you are saying it sounds like they fabricated claims in order to try to search without a warrant. Based on the description you provided of the incident, this sounds like this falls under Gant and would provide for any evidence found to be suppressed.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Thank you for your answer, two things , First, What Maryland case law would be quoted pertaining to this situation?Second: yes i believe they were looking for ANY reason to search. But of course the officer changed the official arrest report to show him claiming that he pulled the suspect over AFTER he did a random TAG CHECK. thats hard to disprove beyond any doubt. thoughts I will tip you by the way

Thank you for your reply.

The answer is not Maryland law, it is the US SUPREME COURT, Arizona v. Gant, 556 U.S. 332 (2009). also United States v. Ross, 456 U.S. 798 (1982), where the court says that the police cannot just make searches of vehicles without probable cause.

Random tag check or lane change is not probable cause that the vehicle contained contraband.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
z Of course FEDERAL Caselaw always trumps state but I was curious if there was a particular state law that applies. Thanks for your answer. Just for my own curiosity I’m going to ask another question about them searching the trunk and the locked bank bag ASSUMING they had PROBABLE CAUSE to search the interior of the car for the arrest. But I’ll do that or another question so you can get credit for two. Thank you

Thank you for your reply. No need for another question on the trunk and locked bag.

There is no specific MD statute that applies.

The cases I have given you apply to trunks and US v. Ross answers that issue.

Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience: Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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