Auto stops and searchesCars receive scant protection under the Fourth Amendment. Courts give considerable deference to police officers’ determinations of reasonable suspicion, and courts are steadily increasing the constitutional latitude of the police to pull over vehicles. The police may stop a car upon reasonable suspicion to believe a traffic offense has been committed.
Police authority to searchUpon stopping a car, police may:
- Ask for the driver’s registration and license and ask identifying questions.
- Shine a flashlight inside and seize whatever they see in plain view.
- Move papers to look at the vehicle identification number, and order the driver and passengers out of the vehicle.