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Search of Car Following an Arrest

DFields@fishbeinpa.com,   Carfollowing   Leave a Comment

The Maryland Court of Appeals in Efrain v. State of Maryland in an opinion issued on May 23, 2016 clarified the right of a police officer to search a vehicle after a person has been arrested. If the officer can articulate “a reasonable suspicion” that there may be evidence to support a crime to justify searching a car and its contents, the search and seizure of evidence is valid. In Taylor the Defendant was arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol. The Defendant was in the police car being advised of his rights to take the chemical test and a second officer searched the car for evidence to support the driving while under the influence offense i.e. open containers or other evidence while driving while intoxicated. The officer found cocaine in the vehicle and the Defendant was convicted of possession of cocaine in addition to the driving while intoxicated offense. The Court of Appeals analyzed the Supreme cases dealing with searches of automobiles incident to arrest and concluded that when the officer could articulate a reasonable suspicion based on the officer’s own experience or the experience of other officers of the potential to find evidence of the underlying crime i.e. the driving while intoxicated charge, the search is valid.

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