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Searches and Seizures of Cars and Containers

NCJ Number
S Decoster; W Jeronimus; R A Stanich
Date Published
33 pages
This report discusses the United States Supreme Court decisions and Minnesota judicial decisions that regulate the authorization of searches and seizures of cars and containers in Minnesota.
Every search and seizure question involves two types of issues. The first is whether the circumstances perceived by the police officer justify the particular intrusion, whether it be an investigative stop, a frisk, a full search, or other intrusion. The second issue is whether, before making the intrusions, the police officer met the warrant requirement. This second issue requires the investigating officer to make a decision regarding how to proceed. If any doubt exists regarding the legitimacy of proceeding without a warrant, the officer can and should seek consent for the search or, if circumstances permit, obtain a warrant. Police officers considering warrantless searches of vehicles should be familiar with the legal requirements for probable-cause searches, searches incident to an arrest, and inventory searches. Searches of containers should be governed by judicial decisions starting with United States v. Ross in 1982. List of cases