This program is an excerpt from Life is a Highway: Handling Traffic Cases.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.1
Understanding the Fourth Amendment
Your client is pulled over for speeding. The officer wants to search the car for evidence of a crime. When is a search legal? When is it a violation of the Fourth Amendment?
In Search and Seizure Issues in Traffic Cases, you will review the concepts behind the Fourth Amendment, so you can determine whether your client’s traffic stop was handled properly. In particular, you’ll discuss:
- What is, or isn’t, a seizure
- Examples of searches during an OWI stop
- How the courts have recently interpreted search or seizure issues
An exception to the rule
Green = go. Red = stop. The community caretaker function (CCF) = a gray area? In 1973, the community caretaker exception was born when the Wisconsin Supreme Court permitted the warrantless search of a vehicle in Cady v. Dombrowski.2 The concept behind CCF is that police officers do not always function as law enforcement officials; sometimes, their actions can be construed as “community caretaking functions, totally divorced from the detection, investigation, or acquisition of evidence relating to the violation of a criminal statute.”3 Learn how probable cause, consent, and “community caretaking” can impact traffic stops.
1 [ https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/amendments/amendment-iv] ↩
2 [ https://www.wisbar.org/NewsPublications/InsideTrack/Pages/Article.aspx?Volume=10&Issue=6&ArticleID=26255] ↩
3 [https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/413/433] ↩