• 1.0 INTRODUCTIONThe general presumption is that a search conducted based on a search warrant’s authority is reasonable. Contrariwise, a warrantless search is regarded unreasonable. However, the unreasonableness presumption is rebuttable by applying various exceptions, for instance the ‘motor vehicle’ exception. Other than the motor vehicle exception, there are other exceptions that allow police officers to search the compartments of passengers, frisk the passengers, search an individual’s motor vehicle with the consent the individual having ostensible or actual authority over the vehicle.

    Notwithstanding the general presumption that warrantless searches are not reasonable, there are several justified exceptions that allow law enforcement to search motor vehicles. The American Supreme Court has severally pronounced itself on warrant and warrantless searches of automobiles and their exceptions, which decisions have had a glaring contrast with that of Pennsylvanian law. This paper will critically analyse the decisions and subsequently give a commentary on the same and also evaluate Pennsylvanian law on the automobile exceptions.  The current paper is thus mainly premised on the warrant and warrantless searches of automobiles.

    • Meaning of Search and Seizure Generally

    The term “search” means the evaluation of one’s automobile, building, home, papers, person or any other effects with the main objective of finding crime evidence or contrabands that comes in handy in prosecuting a crime.[1] Furthermore, the American Supreme Court has established a two-tier test used in the determination of a search was conducted. The first facet is whether a person exhibits an expectation of their privacy being respected. The other facet is whether the expectation is one that is considered reasonable by society.[2]

    The general presumption is that searches should be conducted based on warrant authority. Thus warrantless searches on ostensible or actual legal authority could be regarded as invasion of privacy by law enforcement. It could also mean invasion where force is used, regardless of whether the force is constructive or actual.

    Contrariwise the term “seizure” means the forceful taking of some effect. Such force could either be constructive of actual and authorized by law, the government or its agents and officers. People are only considered seized when there exists a solid and objective reasonable belief that that they have no liberty to interact with the outside world.[3]

    Nonetheless, the American Supreme Court has been keen to establish that all interactions with the police evidence the supremacy of law enforcement over citizens. In the event the only issue was whether one refused to answer or walked away, all interactions between citizens and the police could amount to a seizure under the Fourth Amendment seizure. Hence a confrontation could only be regarded as a seizure only if the police engaged in conduct that is not within the ambit of reasonable human interactions.[4]

    Moreover, the reasonableness or otherwise of seizures and traditional arrests is based on a three-tire test. Thus the court assesses the weight of the concerns of the seizure victims, the level to which the seizure promotes public interest or otherwise and the extent of the infringement of the victim’s privacy.[5] Hence the preceding aspects will found the basis when making a determination on whether an automobile search and subsequent seizure is reasonable or otherwise.


    • Provisions of the Fourth Amendment on:

    1.2.1. Warrant Searches

    Since the Fourth Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights, it outlaws any unreasonable seizures and searches. Additionally, it outlines the various requirements for the issuance of warrants. It expressly states that warrants should be issued either by a magistrate or judge. The warrant should also be justified by a probable cause, affirmation or oath and should describe the place or person meant to be searched and seized.

    Further, in the American jurisdiction, court grant permission or warrants through the issuance of the writ. Searches and seizures are considered unconstitutional and unreasonable if they are conducted without a warrant. Thus law enforcement officers are required to obtain the warrant in practicable circumstances. However, if the circumstance in question falls within the existing exceptions that allow warrantless searches and seizures, it is not mandatory that the police obtain a warrant.[6]


    1.3. Motor Vehicle Searches

    In America, the motor vehicle exception is a rule that alters the standard warrant pre-requisite of the Fourth Amendment. It thus permits law enforcement to search motor vehicles without a search warrant.

    The Fourth Amendment on motor vehicle searches provides that each individual is entitled to be secure which includes their house, papers, person and other effects. Hence such cannot be subjected to unreasonable seizures and searches and no warrants should be issued to that effect.

    Accordingly, any operator of a motor vehicle expects privacy with regard to his motor vehicle. Hence security against any unreasonable seizures and searches. However, the expectation is diminished by the Fourth Amendment. Nonetheless, under the Pennsylvanian Constitution, the safeguards afforded to moto vehicles are greater.[7]

    2.0 WHAT IS A CAR

    2.1. Federal Definitions

    Regulations implementing the federal Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act define the terms “automobile,” “passenger automobile,” and “light truck.” The primary purpose of these definitions is for vehicle classification under national requirements for fuel economy applicable to manufacturers.[8] The terms “passenger car,” “truck,” and “multipurpose passenger vehicle” are defined in regulations implementing national motor vehicle safety standards that cover things like occupant protection, braking systems, lighting, window glazing, tires, and many other areas. These standards are also applicable to manufacturers.[9]

    The significant area of federal regulations that relate to automobiles are the interstate motor carrier safety standards in which the terms “commercial motor vehicle” and “truck” are defined. These are equipment and operational standards that apply to private, contract, and “for-hire” motor carriers.[10]

    Furthermore, the term “motor vehicle” is defined under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. These standards are the basic requirements that manufacturers are required to follow when making motor vehicles. There exist more than 50 separate standards covering things from braking systems and lighting to head restraints and windshield washing systems. The regulations define a passenger car as a motor vehicle that does not include a versatile vehicle, a motorcycle or a trailer designed to harbour almost 10 people. Further, a multi-purpose passenger vehicle can carry up to 10 people but it is founded on the chassis of a truck and has special features. Moreover, a truck is defined as a vehicle that is primarily designed to ferry property and equipment.

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations also describe a motor vehicle. These are regulations that establish the equipment and operating rules for motor vehicles that operate in interstate commerce transporting goods or people. The regulations define a “commercial motor vehicle” as a towed or self-propelled car that is often used on public highways and in interstate commerce in the transportation of property or passengers. Such cars also have an average weight of 10,001 pounds.[11]

    A separate set of federal requirements governing uniform licensing standards for commercial vehicle drivers uses a slightly modified version of this definition. The difference in the definition is in the gross weight limits. The licensing standards apply to operators of cars with an average weight of 26,001 pounds or more rather that 10,001 pounds or more.[12]

    2.2 Importance of cars in Human Lives

                One of the significances of a car in human lives is that it is form of property that a lot of people take pride in. Purchasing a car is regarded as a significant investment that one can make and comes second after purchasing a home. Hence vehicles are regarded as property. A vehicle also comes in handy when one wants to move and could also serve as a good source of income if sold off. Car owners also trade their cars for better cars. Furthermore, many people use cars to store personal items in, carry confidential/medical records in, and sometimes to live in.

    Moreover, most people use cars to store personal items in. For instance, storage of confidential and medical records. This is because hardly anyone has access to another person’s car without their consent. Further, some people live in their car. A good instance is the mobile car that serves as one’s home.

    Personal cars also serve as an easy form of transport from one place to another. The majority of the population opt to use their personal cars as opposed to using public transport since it is more convenient and faster. Having one’s car also affords one the luxury of liberty, independence, and comfort.

    2.3. Is a mobile home a car?

                All mobile homes with wheels or any other form of equipment commonly used for mobility are considered vehicles hence personal property. They are thus required to be titled. A good example of a department that seeks to implement such is the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. Accordingly, the real estate licenses do not grant the authority to aid clients in selling, buying or leasing mobile homes as part of personal property.[13]

    Moreover, a mobile home is only considered real estate if it has wheels of any other equipment that have been detached; is attached to real estate; and has the vehicle title revoked through surrender to the relevant department of motor vehicles.[14] Additionally, Virginia Code §46.2-653 makes a provision that when the mobile homes are converted into real estate, they can be sold as such.[15] The majority of the Virginia real estate agents are also licensed to aid clients in the purchase, sale and leasing of real estate. Hence able to aid clients in purchasing, selling or leasing of mobile homes that have already been converted into real property from personal property.

    Furthermore, the American Supreme Court acknowledged and appreciated that a mobile home has some, is not all, of the aspects of a home. Nonetheless, when the mobile home is being used as a vehicle on the highway or is ready for such use, and is spotted stationery in a non-residential location, the two main justifications for the automobile exception apply. To begin with, the mobile home is already a vehicle just by turning an ignition key. Secondly, there is less expectation regarding privacy in relation to its use as a licensed vehicle that is subject to various police regulations not applicable to fixed dwellings.[16] Generally, if mobile homes are still registered as vehicles, then they are considered automobiles as opposed to homes thus not real property. They are thus subject to the law that governs the warrant and warrantless searches and seizure of automobiles.



    • Importance of automobile search exception
      • The Right to Privacy including Warrantless Searches by Police Officers.

    The Fourth Amendment only proscribes searches by law enforcement that are unreasonable. Unreasonable searches are considered illegal hence prompting the application of the exclusionary rule that renders illegally obtained evidence inadmissible. Nonetheless, not every unreasonable search results in exclusion. For instance, where a search is unreasonable but the fruits are admissible under the “independent source” or “inevitable discovery” rules.[17] The “independent source” rule is another exception for illegally obtained evidence through searches and seizures. It permits the admission of evidence that has been illegally obtained by the law enforcement officers. On the hand, the “inevitable discovery” rule provides that evidence obtained in relation to a violation of the constitution is only admissible if its lawful acquisition was impossible. It is only a valid exception in instances where the inevitable discovery could have happened through other means other than obtaining a warrant of search.[18]

    Accordingly, the American Supreme Court has severally held that searches that have been carried out without the authority of a search warrant are not reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. However, the preceding is subject to several exceptions like carefully and jealously drawn. Furthermore, proof of the existence of exigent or urgent situations forestalls the requirement of a warrant.

    One of the exigent circumstances provided under the law is search incident to arrest. The American Supreme Court decisions that interpret the application of the exception have had varied opinions on the same. Hence it has not been able to establish a robust precedent for the application of the aspect of search incident to arrest. This has raised an uproar among many stakeholders and the public since it has resulted in unpredictability and confusion of decisions that relate to the exception.[19]

    The basis for the exception of search-incident-to-arrest is found in the dicta of various Supreme Court findings. The main decision is that of Marron v. United States where the courts held that there exists a right to search a place without a warrant with aim of seizing crime evidence.[20] However, this ruling was rendered inapplicable in instances where the circumstances allow the law enforcement officers to obtain a warrant of search.[21]

    Later on, the scope of the search incident to arrest exception was extended in decisions that have had significant influence on the courts till date. The decisions include the case of Harris v. United States. In this case, the Court sustained a search without a warrant for an apartment. It highlighted that the circumstances of search incident to arrest may extend to searching the premises that are actually controlled by the person in question.[22] The Court, having found that Harris had the exclusive control over the whole four-apartment, insisted on the reliance of reasonableness aspect. It also considered the objects’ nature in concluding that the length and intensity of the search was reasonable.[23]

    Consequently, United States v. Rabinowitz buttressed the reasonableness principle championed in the Harris case.[24] The decision upheld the search of a safe, desk and cabinet that are contained in the same room where the arrest happened.[25]

    Moreover, in the celebrated case of Chimel v California, the court decided that in a search incident to arrest, searching an area that is beyond the immediate or actual control of the arrested person is illegal under the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. The court was, however, keen to state that in instances where there is risk that the evidence may be concealed or destroyed or there is imminent danger to the law enforcement officers, then the place or vehicle that is beyond the arrestee’s immediate control could be searched.[26] Nonetheless, unlike the  Chimel case that proscribes the police form searching beyond the property in the immediate control of the arrestee, Arizona v Grant[27] certifies the searches and seizures of places and property in cases where the police reasonably believe there exist illegal materials.

    Moreover, Pennsylvania Superior Court, just like the Chimel case, held in the case of Commonwealth v Lutz, hence pronouncing itself that the alw enforcement officer cannot conduct a search of a motor vehicle without obtaining a search warrant.[28] The Grant case is good law as compared to the Chimel and Lutz case since searching places or vehicles which the officers consider to contain illegal material could lead to the realization of meaningful evidence. Search warrantless searches, should however be subjected to not only reasonable apprehension but also reasonable force by the law enforcement officers.


    • Protection of Individuals’ Right to Privacy from Arbitrary Interference by Police Officers

    The balance between the functions and roles of law enforcement officers to conduct searches and seizures in a bid to combat crime has often clashed with the constitutional right to privacy afforded to the citizens. The Fourth Amendment places safeguarded privacy entitlements against the duties of law enforcement officers to fight crime. Hence the protection of one of the interests often leads to the curtailment of the other. This imbalance can only be fixed by the courts in the exercise of their responsibility to ensure a balance between public safety and individual right to privacy free from the arbitrary interference by police officers.

    However, the decisions of police officers to search and subsequently arrest individuals are often implemented swiftly hence little or no room for contemplating the legality of the actions. Thus, to ensure that the law enforcement officers work within the ambits of the constitutional restrictions, the Court ought to provide guidelines regarding the balance between the citizens’ right to privacy and arbitrary interference by law enforcement officers. Thus the need to enact and implement robust regulate searches and seizures.

    Moreover, since the Fourth Amendment governs law enforcement officers in their daily activities, its provisions should be expresses in terms that are easily comprehended by the police.[29] Juxtaposed against the various functions and responsibilities of law enforcement officials are the individual interests that are protected by the Fourth Amendment. With regard to the latter, citizens are guaranteed that they will not be subjected unreasonable and unjustified invasions thus legitimate privacy interests. Such privacy rights are essential to the complete enjoyment of personal liberty, security and quiet enjoyment of one’s property.[30]

    Accordingly, warrantless searches and seizures should only be conducted by law enforcement in exigent and urgent circumstance. Otherwise, they should be held accountable for invasion of privacy and trespass of persons and their property.


    Any form of seizure of evidence or contraband that violated the right to privacy under the Fourth Amendment is subjected to the exclusionary rule. This rule proscribes the prosecution from the introduction of illegally obtained evidence in court. Currently, the main rationale of the rule is based on the likely deterrent effect as well as the conservancy of judicial and court integrity. The deterrence rationale is the main justification for the exclusionary rule and has resulted in the diminished application of the exclusionary rule. There has also been an increased propensity of finding that the adverse effects of the rule outweigh all deterrent effects and thus hesitation in the application of the rule to wilful and blatant violations of the Fourth Amendment. Further, the exclusionary rule has proven inapplicable in jury proceedings, witness impeachments, invalid statutory actions and proceedings of administrative bodies.

    Moreover, the criticism of the exclusionary rule and the recent trends of the court suggest that modifying the exclusionary rule is significant in the regulation of searches and seizures. Further, the dissenting opinion of Stone v Powell suggested the prevention of the application of the rule in circumstances where evidence is seized by an officer that is acting bona fide and with the belief that his conduct is lawful.[31] The good faith principle is premised on the assumption that the role of the exclusionary rule is deterring any blatant and flagrant law enforcement officers’ misconduct.[32] It has further been argued that in instances where an officer is not aware of their actions being illegal, he acts under the misconceived presumption that they are lawful thus the exclusionary rule does not achieve its deterrent effect.[33]

      • The Federal Automobile Search Requirement

    Any individual operating an automobile has the expectation of privacy with regard to protection of his vehicle from any unreasonable searches and seizures. However, the Fourth Amendment diminishes the expectation of privacy through the provision of qualities that are unique to motor vehicles or automobiles.[34] The Fourth Amendment accordingly provides for the automobile exception by outlining the main differences between other property and automobiles. The provisions permit the warrantless searches and seizure of automobiles, which would otherwise be regarded as unlawful and unreasonable.[35]

    The general rule is that a valid search may be conducted on a vehicle moving on a highway if there is probable cause for the search. Hence the existence of facts that are adequate to warrant a reasonable man that an offence has or is about to be committed.[36] The preceding exception was first coined by the Supreme Court case of Carroll v United States which stated that if a police officer has reasonable and probable cause to believe that a car gas crime evidence or contraband, a warrantless search may be conducted.[37] Thus the basic requirement for implementation of the automobile exception is the existence of a probable cause. The police officers should show that there exists a reason to believe that the evidence of crime will be found in the vehicle. Such can be inferred from the suspicious or unreasonable behavior of the occupant, witness account and the presence of illegal content in plain sight or even the odor of drugs.

      • Consent

    The search of a vehicle with the consent of the individual with ostensible or actual control of the car is among the exceptional warrantless searches instances. Thus law enforcement officers can conduct motor vehicle searches without probable cause or a warrant when an individual voluntarily consents to the same. Evidence recovered in such searches can be seized and admitted as evidence in court.[38]

    Moreover, the consent can either be implied or express and translates to a waiver of the Fourth Amendment rights. In determining whether the consent was voluntary, courts evaluate the circumstances surrounding the issuance of the consent.[39] Some of the factors included by court include education, age, intelligence, literacy, level of cooperation, and nature of questioning by the police. None of the preceding factors is regarded factor is dispositive.[40] Also, persons that consent under the influence of intoxication do not render the consent involuntary.[41] Generally, the prosecution bears the burden of proving that the consent was voluntarily given.[42]

    However, it is worth noting that the police are not required to inform individuals that they are entitled to say no to searches. For instance, at a traffic stop, police officers may ask people for consent to search the vehicle. In the event the driver agrees, the consent is considered valid despite not being aware of the entitlement to refuse the search. The law enforcement officers thus bear the burden of proving that the defendant gave the consent voluntarily. The case of Schneckloth v Bustamote explained what constitutes voluntary consent.[43] The police officers stopped a vehicle and inquired from the occupant whether they could search it. The defendant accepted and the police found three stolen cheques. Subsequently, the court held that there was no violation of the Fourth Amendment. The defendants as well as the police testified that the interaction between the parties were pleasant and they did not discuss the crime. Further, one of the defendants even offered to assist in conducting the search. For a consent to be considered invalid, the facts should demonstrate that the law enforcement used force or duress to obtain the consent.[44]

    Moreover, law enforcement officers can obtain consent from persons other than those that own the property being searched. A third party that has reasonable belief that they have authority to consent to search can permit the police to conduct a search of another vehicle. Further, a warrantless search can be conducted with the consent of the driver.[45] For instance, in the case of Commonwealth v. Yedinak, when police smelled marijuana’s odour, they informed the driver of their intention to search the vehicle for drugs. The defendant willingly consented to the search and containers with drugs such as narcotics were found.[46] The court held that the evidence of crime, being the drugs, was admissible despite the police not having a search warrant.[47] Thus, consent, as long as it is voluntarily given, is considered an exception for the mandatory requirement of a warrant to search a vehicle.

    • Terry stop doctrine for automobiles

    In a traffic stop owing to a violation of rules, the main role of a terry-stop, also known as a brief detention, is maintain the status quo. This enables the law enforcement officer to conduct a safe and brief investigation to establish whether there is any criminal activity being conducted.[48] The police may, however, not detain a motor vehicle with the aim of obtaining a search warrant where they have no probable cause.[49]

    Moreover, the police cannot conduct warrantless searches of a motor vehicle for investigation in the guise of a compelling and specific interest that is advanced by a regulatory strategy.[50] For instance, in the case of Commonwealth v. Petrol, the court held that even though the exigent circumstances allowed the officers to access a truck for a limited role of checking the equipment to prevent harm, the search and seizure of the driver’s logbook was not requisite for the realization of any regulatory scheme either under the federal or Pennsylvania law.[51]

    Furthermore, a terry search should not be necessarily limited to stopping and frisking an individual. It could also extend to a safeguarded search of the passengers ‘compartment if the police had reasonable belief that he may seize the illegal equipment or substances.[52] The length of Terry detention varies depending on the circumstance. The courts have held that it is significant to evaluate whether the law enforcement officers tried out an investigation means that confirms or dispels suspicions expeditiously.[53] Thus the preference of detention by the police officers should be justified lest the same would be considered unreasonable.

    The Terry frisk doctrine is also narrow and limited to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement. Thus a police officer can only carry out a pat-down frisk of an automobile only when the officer has reasonable belief that the driver or passenger has an illegal equipment. Even prior to the frisk, the law enforcement officers should ensure that they have a legitimate reason to stop the individual. The main reason for terry frisking is removing the weapons that threaten not only the officers but also the public. It is also worth noting that the terry frisk is not meant for exploring drugs or contrabands, rather weapons.

    • Plain view

    The plain view doctrine denotes a principle that allows law enforcement officers to seize evidence of crime without obtaining a warrant in instances where the evidence is visible. It serves as one of the exceptions of the Fourth Amendment’s right to not have warrantless searches conducted. Further, it serves as an exception to the warrant requirement contained in the Fourth Amendment that permits officers to seize crime evidence found in plain view.

    The doctrine was first coined in the case of Coolidge v. New Hampshire.[54] The case formulated the doctrine using three main factors. The first was that the police officers should be present where they allege to have viewed or seen the evidence of crime. The second aspect is that the officer should immediately possess probable cause to believe that the item constitutes and evidence of crime or is a contraband. The final aspect is that the observation of the substance in question should have been accidental and not foreseen or intended before being seen.[55]

    However, the case of Horton v. California did away with the requirement of viewing the evidence accidently which has resulted in problems in the definition of inadvertent or accidental discovery. [56] In the Horton case, the Supreme Court delivered a decision upholding the plain view seizure of weapons that are affiliated to robbery notwithstanding the judge that issued the warrant denying the officer in question permission to seize weapons in a search. The Court also made it clear that the law enforcement officer should have legal right to access the objects in order to seize them subject to the plain view doctrine.[57] For instance, a law enforcement officer that sees an evidence of crime in plain view through their window but is not authorized to enter the home cannot possibly rely on the plain view doctrine to enter the home and seize the evidence of crime.

    Moreover, an officer is allowed to bring into “plain view” aspects that are hidden in darkness by flashing lights on the car’s interior. Nonetheless, in the case of Commonwealth v. Houston, the court held that the law enforcement officer was not legally inside the motor vehicle when he seized the coat thus not in any position to view the cocaine in the jacket. Thus the plain view doctrine does not apply in instances where the substance or equipment in question is literally not in plain view.[58]

    There exist various instances of “plain view” seizures that involve cars. However, the court in Commonwealth v. Houston highlighted the several reasons why the plain view doctrine was not applicable. The first reason was that the subject of the valid arrest warrant had not been arrested yet and was only confined in the police officer’s vehicle. The second is that the defendant was detained before the investigation outside the vehicle. The officer also failed to ask for permission to access the vehicle and obtain the coat. The final reason is that the arrestee did not ask the officer to get him anything from the car.[59]

    From this set of reasons, it is clear that the illegal substance was not in plain view. The law enforcement officer only suspected the presence of the illegal substance as opposed to the same being in plain view. Thus the substance should be in plain view for the doctrine to be successfully relied on.

    The preceding can be contrasted with the case of Com. v. Liddie. The court held that the exigent circumstances pre-requisite had been satisfied under Pennsylvanian automobile exception. Also, that when the police officer lawfully seized marijuana in plain view from the defendant’s vehicle, the seizure was legal. This is because the office viewed the cocaine from a vantage place, the criminal character of the cocaine was obvious and the officer legally accessed the vehicle’s interior. Thus no additional exigent circumstances were required.[60] Unlike the Houston case where the law enforcement officer illegally accessed the vehicle and the substance was not in plain view, the officer in the Liddie case legally accessed the vehicle and the substance was in plain view.

    • Search Incident to Lawful Arrest

    In some instances, police officers are allowed to search vehicles after arrest if there is possibility that the arrestee accessed the car during the search. For instance, to reach for a weapon that may endanger the police officer or the public. In such instances, the police are permitted to carry out searches without a warrant. Nonetheless, the search incident to arrest practice is not permitted except in instances where the officer has reasonably belief that the vehicle has the evidence of crime.

    One of the cases that firmly elaborates the search incident to arrest is Arizona v Grant.[61] The Arizona decision held that the Fourth Amendment to the American Constitution necessitates law enforcement to show that there is an obvious or continuing risk to their safety by the arrestee. Thus, the urgent need to preserve the evidence in question that is related to the crime to prevent the arrestee from tampering with it.[62] Moreover, Justice Stevens opine that an officer is allowed to search a passenger’s compartment if it he or she reasonably believes that the arrestee may access the vehicle during the search or the vehicle has evidence of the crime of arrest.

    Likewise, in the case of Com v White, the court considered whether the police legally searched the defendant’s vehicle while investigating a drug crime. The police had prior knowledge of the crime and had obtained warrants for the homes and cars of the suspects. Nonetheless, the officers had not obtained a warrant to search the defendant’s vehicle. The Supreme Court made a finding that the search of the defendant’s vehicle could not be justified on any grounds. This included exigent circumstances categorized under the automobile exception, inventory searches, or a search incident to arrest.[63] In holding so, the court did not intend to invalidate warrantless searches of automobiles where the police main intention is to avoid harm to themselves.

    Therefore, both the Gant and White cases endorsed the contention that the law enforcement officers are permitted to search property of suspects without their consent in the event they have probable cause to believe the existence of illegal material. For instance, where the police believe that the suspect has weapons in their vehicles.


    The scope of any warrantless search of a motor vehicle is not based on the container’s nature containing the evidence rather by the search object and the place where there is probable cause it could be found. For instance, a probable cause that a lawnmower reported stolen could be found in a garage may not justify a warrant to search a bedroom. Further, probable cause that unregistered aliens are being conveyed in a vehicle does not warrant a search without a warrant of the suitcases in the vehicle.[64]


    • Containers and Personal Luggage

    The majority of the motor vehicles contain compartments, trunks, and bags/suitcases/items/packages/envelopes that the occupants carry along or place next to them, in the trunk or under their feet. Generally, searches of containers found with the arrestee or within their reach are valid. However, once the law enforcement officers have control over the arrested person’s personal property, a later search of the property is not a valid search incident to arrest. Contrastingly, when the police validly arrest the vehicle’s occupant, they are allowed to search any containers and compartments within the vehicle.[65]

    The scope of search by the police was discussed in the case of Commonwealth v. Runyan. In this case, the Superior Court ruled that it is justified for an officer that has probable cause to search a container in a vehicle where the evidence of crime or contraband is believed to be concealed, this includes the appellee’s purse.[66]

    Moreover, the scope of search is limited by the motor vehicle exception to the possible areas that could be harbouring the evidence of crime. For example, if a police enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect has a bag full of illegal substance and the suspects hails a cab and puts the suitcase in the cab’s trunk. In the event the suspect is detained before he gets to the cab, the police officer would have probable care to believe that the drugs are in the cab’s trunk. Thus, under the motor vehicle exception, an  officer would have the authority to search the trunk since he would have no probable cause to believe that the evidence of crime would be in any other section of the cab.[67]

    • Trunk, Glove Compartment

    As earlier stated, the scope of a search without a warrant is not defined by the character nature of the container where the contraband or evidence of crime is hidden. Rather, the same is defined by the object of the search and the places where there is probable cause to believe the same is found.

    A good instance of the definition of the scope of a warrantless search of a motor vehicle’s compartment and trunk is the case of Commonwealth v. Scott. In this case, the police officers had probable cause to conduct a search of the compartment of the passenger owing to the odor of marijuana. The police officers recovered a container of marijuana that was the main source of the odor of the marijuana the officers had smelt. Nonetheless, the police officers extended their search to the motor vehicle’s trunk. Thereafter, they failed to indicate in the record that they had reasonable belief that there was evidence of crime in the trunk of the car. The court held that the odor of burnt marijuana did not create the possibility of recovering the marijuana from the trunk. [68]

    In another more obvious case, a law enforcement officer would be in a circumstance where he finds evidence of crime in a passenger’s compartment in a motor vehicle. In such an instance, it would be reasonable for the police officer to believe that the evidence could be in the vehicle’s trunk.[69] For instance, in Commonwealth v Moses, the Supreme Court held that a gun and drugs found in a passenger’s compartment of a vehicle during the frisk of weapons granted the police officer probable cause to believe that there were more weapons or drugs in the trunk.[70] In ordinary circumstance, an officer could not be allowed to search the trunk while frisking the vehicle for the weapons. Nonetheless, once the drugs are found in the passenger’s compartment of the motor vehicle in the initial search, the frisking of the trunk was allowed under the motor vehicle exception founded on the probable cause that arises from the drugs being in the passenger’s compartment. Similar inferences may be drawn from finding guns in the passenger’s compartment. Such could back an inference that ammunition, weapons or contrabands could be in the vehicle’s trunk.[71]

    • Odour of Marijuana

    Detecting the odor of marijuana is also considered an exception of the automobile warrant search. Hence when the law enforcement officers detect the odor of marijuana in states where marijuana is illegal, they can conduct a search without a warrant of the vehicle in question. Nonetheless, upon the enactment of the Medical Marijuana Act, several courts have considered whether a probable cause should solely be founded on detecting the odor of marijuana in a motor vehicle.[72]  For instance, in the case of Commonwealth v. Barr, the Superior Court highlighted that there exists no solid rule that the odor of marijuana is adequate to establish the probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed. However, the court stated that there exists a rule that the odor of marijuana alone is sufficient in establishing the probable cause of conducting searches in certain contexts.[73]  Nonetheless, albeit the court raised the probability that marijuana could be adequate to establish a probable cause, it is because the law enforcement officers cannot lawfully discern from the unlawful conduct of marijuana odor alone hence the need to rely on other circumstances in establishing the probable cause of believing that the possession of marijuana detected by the odor is criminal.[74] Thus the odor of marijuana alone is not viewed by the courts as adequate to establish a probable cause to search the entire vehicle.

    For instance, in the case of United States v Nielsen, a police officer stopped the defendant for over speeding and then smelt the odor of marijuana from the vehicle’s open window. The officer then obtained consent of the driver to search the vehicle’s compartment but did not find the odor’s source. From the criminal record, the driver had previously been arrested for a misdemeanour in relation to a marijuana offence 15 years prior. The police then removed the car keys from the ignition and checked the trunk where he found cocaine. The American Court of Appeal for the Tenth Circuit then ruled that the odor alone was not sufficient to amount to probable cause to search the vehicle’s trunk.[75]

    The court in the Nielsen case focused on the credibility of an uncorroborated detection by a police officer of the odor of burnt marijuana in the motor vehicle. The court stated that there should be evidence that corroborates the marijuana odor to sufficiently establish probable cause to search a vehicle’s trunk. Such corroboration ought to be as simple as finding a marijuana cigar in a motor vehicle or in the driver’s possession. The court in the Nielsen case also distinguished between detecting the semll of marijuana by officers and detecting drugs using a dog that sniffs drugs. The court stated that such a dog that is reliable does not require corroboration in order to establish sufficient probable cause to search a vehicle trunk.[76]

    Moreover, the corroboration of the odor of marijuana does not necessarily have to be in the form of physical evidence. Accordingly, in the case of State v Ireland, the officer stopped the defendant because he had his headlights off. The law enforcement officers eventually determined that the drive had a suspended license and arrested him.[77] They then searched the vehicle and detected the smell of burnt marijuana under the seat of the driver. The trunk was also searched and marijuana was found. In court, the defendant argued that there was no corroborating evidence of the presence of marijuana in the trunk. However, the Supreme Court ruled that the odor was corroborates by the defendant’s furtive behaviour and resistance to open the trunk.

    The cases discussed above revolve around the aspect of the odor of burnt marijuana. Nonetheless, when the odor of marijuana detected by the law enforcement officers is that of fresh and unburnt marijuana, courts have held that there is no need for corroborating evidence for the presence of marijuana before searching a vehicle.[78]

    • Use of Drugs

    The presence of any illegal drugs would also warrant the police officers to conduct a search without a warrant based on probable cause. For instance, in the case of Wimberly v Superior Cour of San Bernardino County, the police officers flagged a motorist for reckless driving. The officers then approached the vehicle and noted a smoking pipe and smelt the odor of marijuana. On examination of the pipe, they found the residue of marijuana in the pipe bowl. The officers then searched the vehicle’s interior and found a plastic bag with marijuana. The court, however, decided that it was not reasonable for the officers to assume the presence of more drugs in the trunk hence no probable cause to search the trunk. Accordingly, law enforcement officers must have a probable cause from the circumstances in question to search a motor vehicle in the event there is a use of drugs in plain view. Otherwise, evidence found in the trunk will not be admissible before the court and will be dismissed as illegally obtained evidence.

    Despite the preceding holding the general rule is that if there exists physical evidence of the drugs that have been found in the passenger’s compartment, despite it being a small amount for personal use, it will be considered sufficient to establish a probable cause that there are more drugs in vehicle.[79] For instance in the case of United States V Turner, an American police officer stooped a driver for not displaying his license at the front part of the vehicle.[80] Upon the driver rolling down his window, the law enforcement officer smelt a strong odor of marijuana and noticed torn pieces of tobacco cigars. The officer then searched the trunk and found more drugs. The American Court of Appeal quashed the defendant’s argument of there not being probable cause to search the trunk from drugs and upheld that there was probable cause from the open display of drugs. Thus in instances where the circumstances where the use of drugs is open, a police officer has probable cause to believe that there are more drugs in the vehicle and can thus conduct a warrantless search. Such evidence is subsequently admissible in court and cannot be excluded from the court record.

    • Stop and Frisk

    The stop and frisk refers to a brief and non-intrusive stop made the police of a suspect. The Fourth Amendment provides that before stopping a vehicle, the police should have reasonable suspicion that a crime is being, has been or is about to be committed by the suspects. Also, if the law enforcement officers have reason to believe that the suspects are armed and thus dangerous, they are allowed to frisk the suspect. Thus they may give a pat-down to the outer clothes of the suspect.

    The stop and frisk doctrine is derived from the Terry v Ohio case.[81] In this case, the court ruled that a stop and frisk ought to comply with the Fourth Amendment hence it should not be unreasonable. As per the court, a reasonable stop and frisk is that which a reasonable and prudent law enforcement officer would be justified to believe that his safety and that of the public is at risk. Thus the officer may conduct a reasonable search for the weapons believed to be dangerous.

    With regard to a reasonable stop, the Supreme Court in the case of Rodriguez v United States held that any police stop that exceeds the time required to handle a certain matter is a violation of the Constitution’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. [82] Thus a seizure that is only justified by a police observation of violation of the traffic rule is unlawful in the event it is prolonged beyond reasonable time required to complete the mission of issuance of a ticket for the impugned violation.

    Thus in the Rodriguez case, the police officer completed the terry stop and then used the police dog to perform a search on the suspect. The court found that the sniff search amounted to a violation of the Fourth Amendment since it was extended beyond the standard period for completion of a search. With regard to admissibility of evidence found in an unreasonable search, it is subject to the exclusionary rule and thus can be adduced as evidence in trial. In the Rodriguez case, the evidence from the dog sniffing the driver was held to be admissible.

    Moreover, when a motor vehicle is legally stopped for having violated the traffic rules, the police officers will not be considered to have unreasonably intruded the passengers and the driver by instructing them to come out of the car. The officer is also justified to look inside the vehicle and ask for the motor vehicle identification and information regarding the motor vehicle from the driver.[83] Nonetheless, once the driver produces the requisite registration and license, he or she should be allowed to proceed without any undue delay. Nonetheless, there exist certain exceptional cases where the driver may delay individuals for more questioning. For instance, the police officer may have reasonable suspicion of the illegal transactions of drugs or any other form of criminal activities.[84]

    Further, law enforcement officers can lawfully order a passenger to get out of his vehicle when there is reasonable suspicion that the passenger was involved in criminal activity or that the passenger is not only armed but dangerous to the officer and the public.[85] Nonetheless, frisking a person after a legal traffic stop is not reasonable in the event of suspicious conduct that makes the police conclude that the person is armed and poses a threat to the safety of the officer and public in general.[86]

    Additionally, just like a law enforcement officer could order a passenger to get out a motor vehicle, a passenger of a vehicle that has been legally halted could be ordered to either remain inside the vehicle of get back in. Thus any forcible stop made by a police officer could include a seizure of not only the driver but also the passengers. The police can also conduct a traffic stop by using their emergency lights and sirens as well as equipment. Also, a lawful stop and frisk of any driver that tries to conceal any illegal substance could justify the frisking of the passengers as well.[87]



    • Pennsylvania Expectations for Automobile Exception
      • Adoption of Federal automobile exception

    In Pennsylvania, the general rule is that the police must have a search warrant to search a person’s vehicle. However, there are several exceptions to the requirement of a warrant that permits the law enforcement to carry out searches of vehicles without warrants. Unlike in homes, individuals have less expectations regarding their privacy in automobile searches. This could be attributed to the fact that the police have increased contact with motor vehicles and frequently observe any criminal activity hence “plain view” through the vehicles’ windows. The second reason is that motor vehicles are subjected to strict state rules and regulations.

    For the Federal Automobile Exception, the police are allowed to conduct automobile searches when they have a probable cause to do so. Moreover, under federal law the police only require adequate facts to believe that the vehicle contains criminal evidence prior to carrying out the search.  However, there is no requirement in the federal automobile exception for the police to demonstrate reasons of not being able to obtain a warrant before conducting a search.

    Initially, Article 1, Section 8 of Pennsylvania’s Constitution was interpreted to offer safeguard citizens against any illegal motor vehicle searches compared to the American Constitution. The past practice was for the police to conduct warrantless searches, there ought to be probable cause to conduct the search and circumstances other than the vehicle’s mobility that prevent law enforcement from getting a warrant before conducting the search. Hence the police ought to first determine that sufficient facts exist and reasonably believe that the vehicle has contraband or crime evidence. The police must also have an urgent reason that prevents them from obtaining a warrant prior to conducting the motor vehicle search.

    • Departure from Federal automobile exception

    In 2014, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania delivered a finding in the case of Commonwealth v Gary[88] that officially adopted the federal automobile exception with regard to the warrant requirement. Whereas the police still require a probable cause to search the vehicle, that is adequate facts to believe the vehicle has evidence of crime, they are not required to determine the impossibility of getting a warrant in certain circumstances.

    The Court’s holding in Gary’s case stated that there is no compelling reason to construe Article I Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution as offering more safeguards regarding warrantless searches of vehicles compared to the Fourth Amendment. Further, the court held that in the Commonwealth, the law that governs warrantless searches of cars is coextensive with the Fourth Amendment. Moreover, that the pre-requisite for a warrantless search of a car is probable cause to search and lack of exigency beyond the mobility of motor vehicle. The court expressly stated that the consistent requirement for probable cause is a robust and adequate protection against unlawful motor vehicle searches.[89]

    • How Pennsylvanian and Federal Courts would treat situations differently

    Until recently, law enforcement in Pennsylvania only search an individual’s car without any warrant if they have a probable cause. Hence an exception to the Fourth Amendment that safeguards an individual from unreasonable seizures and searches. The ruling in Commonwealth v Alexander determined that the Pennsylvanian police require more than probable cause hence exigent circumstances to conduct a warrantless search.[90] The main question in Alexander appeal was whether the federal vehicle search exception with regard to warrants is consistent with Article I Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The court assessed its initial opinions regarding warrantless searches along with the privacy entitlements in the American Constitution and Pennsylvanian Constitution.[91]

    Whereas in Gary the court stated that the Pennsylvania Constitution granted individuals more privacy compared to the Fourth Amendment, in Alexander, the court decided that the federal warrantless motor vehicle search exception is incompatible with Article I, Section 8. The rationale was that the Pennsylvania Constitution prioritizes one’s right to privacy over the police’s urgent need to find incriminating contraband or evidence. The court in the Alexander case thus overturned Gary and altered when the Pennsylvania police can conduct motor vehicle searches. Thus if law enforcement does not have one’s permission or warrant, they require probable cause as well as exigent circumstances. However, the court avoided giving the definition of exigent circumstances since the same could not fit all probable cases. However, generally, exigency denotes an urgent demand or need. It would thus be unreasonable for police officers to obtain a warrant first.

    From a critical analysis of the Alexander decision, it is evident that it indicates a main shift from the ability of a police officer to lawfully search a vehicle during a roadside stop based only on the officer’s opinion advanced in the stop. However, although the Alexander finding shall create a significant alteration for the law enforcement procedure, in arriving at the decision, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania just cited the principle recognized by Pennsylvania’s law in relation to more privacy rights compared to federal law.

    8.0. Conclusion

    Warrant and warrantless searches of automobiles have been contentious issues owing to the conflicting case law on the same. This has not only had an influence on the legal framework of various states but also the need for balance between the citizens’ right to privacy and performance of the functions of law enforcement. Thus, the establishment of exceptions to the need of a warrant when searching automobiles. Further, Federal law and Pennsylvania laws are also inconsistent on the conducting of warrantless searches and the applicable exceptions hence the confusion of which precedes the other. There is thus the need to harmonize federal and state law to minimize confusion and avoid the delivery of contrasting decisions on the warrant and warrantless searches of motor vehicles.


    [1] Commonwealth v. Cass, 551 Pa. 25, 36, 709 A.2d 350, 355 (1998) (Opinion Announcing the Judgment

    of the Court), rev’g 446 Pa.Super. 66, 666 A.2d 313, 104 Ed. Law Rep. 782 (1995); Commonwealth

    1. Gibson, 536 Pa. 123, 638 A.2d 203 (1994)

    [2] Commonwealth v. Blasioli, 454 Pa.Super. 207, 685 A.2d 151 (1996), aff’d 552 Pa. 149, 713 A.2d

    1117 (1998), citing Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 88 S.Ct. 507, 19 L.Ed.2d 576 (1967). See

    also United States v. Jones, 132 S.Ct. 945, 181 L.Ed.911 (U.S. 2012)

    [3] Commonwealth v. Hoak, 700 A.2d 1263 (Pa. Super.1997), aff’d 557 Pa. 496, 734 A.2d 1275 (1999),

    citing U.S. v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544, 100 S.Ct. 1870, 64 L.Ed.2d 497 (1980); Commonwealth v.

    Beasley, 761 A.2d 621 (Pa. Super.2000). See also Commonwealth v. Livingstone, 174 A.3d 609 (Pa. 2017)

    ; Commonwealth v. Hampton, 2019 PA Super 38, 204 A.3d 452 (2019)

    [4] Com. v. Mathis, 173 A.3d 699 (Pa. 2017), aff’g 125 A.3d 780 (Pa. Super. 2015), quoting LaFave,

    6 Search and Seizure § 9.4(a) (5th ed.). See also § 19:34. Mere encounters, investigatory (Terry) stops,

    and custodial detentions.

    [5] U.S. Const. Amend. 4; Pa. Const. Art. 1, § 8. Com. v. Beaman, 583 Pa. 636, 880 A.2d 578, 582 (2005),

    citing Brown v. Texas, 443 U.S. 47, 99 S.Ct. 2637, 61 L.Ed.2d 357 (1979).

    [6] Flippo v. West Virginia, 528 U.S. 11; to be further discussed in section 4.0 of the paper.

    [7] To be discussed in Section 8.0

    [8] 49 CFR § 523

    [9]49 CFR § 571

    [10] 49 CFR § 571

    [11] 49 CFR § 390.5

    [12] 49 CFR § 383.5

    [13] § 54.1-2103 Code of Virginia

    [14] Department of Motor Vehicle Guidelines

    [15] Virginia Code §46.2-653

    [16] Carney, 471 U.S. at 392-93.

    [17] Robert M. Bloom. “Inevitable Discovery: An Exception beyond the Fruits.” American Journal of Criminal

    Law 20, (1992): 79-104.

    [18] Ibid

    [19] Ibid

    [20] Marron v United States, 275 U.S. 192 (1927)

    [21] Ibid

    [22] Harris v United States 536 U.S 545 (2002)

    [23] Ibid

    [24] United States v Rabinowitz 339 U.S. 56 (1950)

    [25] Ibid

    [26] Chimel v. Cal., 395 U.S. 752, 89 S. Ct. 2034, 23 L. Ed. 2d 685, 1969)

    [27] 556 U.S. 332 (2009)

    [28] 2022 Pa. Super. 24 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2022)

    [29] Commonwealth v. Davis, 2018 PA Super 127, 188 A.3d 454 (2018). See also Commonwealth v. Chesney,

    2018 PA Super 262, 196 A.3d 253 (2018)

    [30] Ibid

    [31] Stone v Powell, 428 U.S. 465 (1976)

    [32] Ibid

    [33] Ibid

    [34] Ibid

    [35] Preston v U.S., 376 U.S. 364, 84 S. Ct. 881, 11 L. Ed 2d 777 (1964); Carroll v. U.S., 132, 45 S. Ct. 280, 69 L. Ed. 543, 39 A.L.R. 790 (1925); Com. V Shaffer, 447 Pa. 91, 288 A. 2d 727, 77 A.L.R. d 1124 (1972); Com. V Smith, 443 Pa. 151, 277 A. 2d 807 (1971).

    [36] Fernandez v. United States, 321 F.2d 283, 286-

    287 (9th Cir. 1963)

    [37] 267 U.S. 132 (1925)

    [38] U.S. v. Givan, 320 F.3d 452, 459 (3d Cir. 2003)

    [39] U.S. v. Santiago, 410 F.3d 193, 199 (5th Cir. 2005)

    [40] Schneckloth, 412 U.S. at 226-27

    [41] U.S. v. Brown, 345 F.3d 574, 578-79 (8th Cir. 2003)

    [42] U.S. v. Givan, 320 F.3d 452, 459-60 (3d Cir. 2003)

    [43] 412 U.S 218

    [44] Ibid

    [45] Com. v. Viall, 2005 PA Super 435, 890 A.2d 419 (2005). See § 19:33, Consensual Searches.

    [46] Commonwealth v. Yedinak, 450 Pa.Super. 352, 676 A.2d 1217 (1996)

    [47] Ibid

    [48] Com. v. Joseph, 2011 PA Super 273, 34 A.3d 855, 862–863 (2011) (no probable cause)

    [49] More detail on stopping and searching will be discussed in section 7.4

    [50] Commonwealth v. Petroll, 558 Pa. 565, 738 A.2d 993 (1999) (closely regulated business exception to

    warrant requirement inapplicable), aff’g 696 A.2d 817 (Pa.Super.1997). See also § 19:4, Administrative


    [51] Commonwealth v. Petroll, 558 Pa. 565, 738 A.2d 993 (1999) (harmless error). See also § 19:4,

    Administrative Searches.

    [52] Michigan v. Long, 463 U.S. 1032 (1983)

    [53] United States v. Sharpe, 470 U.S. 675, 686 (1985)

    [54] Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U.S. 443 (1971)

    [55] Davis, Joseph R. (October 1979)

    [56] Horton v. California, 496 U.S. 128 (1990)

    [57] Horton, 496 U.S. at 137; Ferdico, at 177; George, 35 N.Y.L. Sch. L. Rev. at 494.

    [58] Commonwealth v. Houston, 456 Pa. Super. 105, 689 A.2d 935 (1997).

    [59] Commonwealth v. Houston, 456 Pa.Super. 105, 689 A.2d 935 (1997).

    [60] Com. v. Liddie, 2011 PA Super 104, 21 A.3d 229, 235–236 (2011) (en banc) (The three prongs of the

    Horton test were met.), following Com. v. Brown, 2011 PA Super 67, 23 A.3d 544 (2011) (en banc).

    See also Com. v. Miller, 56 A.3d 424 (Pa. Super.2012)

    [61] 556 U.S. 332 (2009)

    [62] Ibid

    [63] Commonwealth v. Rosa, 734 A.2d 412, 415 (Pa. Super.1999), (2000), and appeal denied 561 Pa. 686,

    751 A.2d 184 (2000) appeal denied 561 Pa. 693, 751 A.2d 189; Commonwealth v. Baker, 347 Pa. Super. 213, 500 A.2d 483 (1985), aff’d 518 Pa. 145, 541 A.2d 1381 (1988), (overruled on other grounds by Commonwealth

    1. Rosario, 538 Pa. 400, 648 A.2d 1172 (1994)).

    [64] U.S. v. Ross, 456 U.S. 798, 824, 102 S. Ct. 2157, 2172, 72 L. Ed. 2d 572 (1982).

    [65] Smith v. City of Chicago, 242 F.3d 737, 743 (7th Cir. 2001)

    [66] Commonwealth vs Runyan 160 A. 3d 831

    [67] See California v. Acevedo, 500 U.S. 565, 579-80 (1991) (quoting United States v. Ross, 456 U.S. 798, 824 (1982)

    [68] Commonwealth v. Scott, 2019 PA Super 154, 210 A.3d 359, 365 (2019).

    [69] Ibid

    [70] 557 N.E.2d 14, 19 (Mass. 1990)

    [71] See, e.g., United States v. Brown, 334 F.3d 1161, 1171 (D.C. Cir. 2003) (gun found in car next to suspect, who was “tickling the handle,” after multiple gunshots were fired in the vicinity gave probable cause to search the

    trunk for more weapons or amunition).

    [72] Commonwealth v. Scott, 2019 PA Super 154, 210 A.3d 359, 365 (2019).

    [73] Commonwealth v. Barr, 2020 PA Super 236, 240 A.3d 1263, 1276 (2020), appeal granted, 1661050 (Pa, 2021)

    [74] Commonwealth v. Barr, 2020 PA Super 236, 240 A.3d 1263, 1286 (2020), appeal granted, 2021 WL

    1661050 (Pa. 2021).

    [75] 24

    [76] See also United States v. Ludwig, 10 F.3d 1523, 1527-28 (10th Cir. 1993) (dog alert established probable cause to search trunk). Cf. United States v. Williams, 69 F.3d 27, 28 (5th Cir. 1995).

    [77] 706 A.2d 597 (Me. 1998)

    [78] State v. Wright, 977 P.2d 505, 507-08 (Utah App. 1999); United States v. Downs, 151 F.3d 1301 (10th Cir. 1998). Cf. People v. Kazmierczak, 605 N.W.2d 667 (Mich. 2000)

    [79] United States v. Burnett, 791 F.2d 64, 65 (6th Cir. 1986).

    [80] 119 F.3d 18 (D.C. Cir. 1997)

    [81] 392 U.S. 1 (1968)

    [82] 575 U.S. __ (2015)

    [83] Commonwealth v. Long, 489 Pa. 369, 414 A.2d 113 (1980); Commonwealth v. Rosa, 734 A.2d

    412 (Pa. Super.1999), appeal denied 561 Pa. 693, 751 A.2d 189 (2000) and appeal denied 561 Pa. 686, 751

    A.2d 184 (2000); Commonwealth v. Bable, 286 Pa.Super. 203, 428 A.2d 643 (1981); Commonwealth

    1. Sojourner, 268 Pa. Super. 472, 408 A.2d 1100 (1978)

    [84] Commonwealth v. Shelly, 703 A.2d 499 (Pa. Super.1997); Commonwealth v. Lopez, 415 Pa. Super.

    252, 609 A.2d 177 (1992). See also § 19:37

    [85] Commonwealth v. Rosa, 734 A.2d 412 (Pa. Super.1999), appeal denied 561 Pa. 693, 751 A.2d 189

    (2000) and appeal denied 561 Pa. 686, 751 A.2d 184 (2000); Commonwealth v. Rodriguez, 695 A.2d

    864 (Pa. Super.1997); Commonwealth v. Elliott, 376 Pa. Super. 536, 546 A.2d 654 (1988).

    [86] Commonwealth v. Collini, 264 Pa. Super. 36, 398 A.2d 1044 (1979). See also Commonwealth v.

    Chamberlain, 332 Pa. Super. 108, 480 A.2d 1209 (1984). See §§ 19:39 and 19:40 for a more extensive

    discussion of frisks.

    [87] See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Chamberlain, 332 Pa. Super. 108, 480 A.2d 1209 (1984); United States

    1. Hensley, 469 U.S. 221, 105 S.Ct. 675, 83 L.Ed.2d 604 (1985).

    [88] No. 26 EAP 2012

    [89] Ibid

    [90] 243 A. 3d 177 (Pa. 2020)

    [91] Ibid