ARRESTED? INVESTIGATED?   ARRESTADO? INVESTIGADO?

Call Us Now!

305-644-1800

Albert M. Quirantes | Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Office
Albert M. Quirantes | Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer

US Supreme Court finds Drivers of borrowed or rented vehicles cannot be pulled over and searched wit


US Supreme Court finds Drivers of borrowed or rented vehicles cannot be pulled over and searched without probable cause

A unanimous US Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a driver of a rented vehicle has an expectation of privacy despite not being listed on the rental agreement. Justice Anthony Kennedy delivered the opinion of the court that police may not randomly search rental cars simply because the drivers do not own the vehicle.

"The court now holds that, as a general rule, someone in otherwise lawful possession and control of a rental car has a reasonable expectation of privacy in it even if the rental agreement does not list him or her as an authorized driver," Justice Kennedy wrote.

The high court took up the case of Terrence Byrd who was behind the wheel of a Ford Fusion rented from Budget. While traveling through Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on September 17, 2014, Byrd caught the attention of state Trooper David Long, who was parked in the median of Interstate 81 running a speed trap. The officer noticed the Fusion was a rental and the driver's seat had reclined to an "unusual degree." So he ordered Byrd to pull over, and after checking Byrd's paperwork (he was not listed on the rental agreement), the trooper decided he did not need permission to search the car. When the trooper did, he found heroin. The court was asked to rule whether the initial stop violated the Fourth Amendment.

"Few protections are as essential to individual liberty as the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures," Justice Kennedy explained. "Answering that question requires examination of whether the person claiming the constitutional violation had a legitimate expectation of privacy in the premises searched."

The owner of a vehicle has a clear privacy interest in his car, but here the Fusion was rented by a friend on Byrd's behalf. Prosecutors argued he had no more standing than a common thief to complain about the search. The high court rejected that idea outright, pointing out it would merely be a violation of the contract, not a ceding of a fundamental right.

"Putting the government's misreading of the contract aside, there may be countless innocuous reasons why an unauthorized driver might get behind the wheel of a rental car and drive it -- perhaps the renter is drowsy or inebriated and the two think it safer for the friend to drive them to their destination," Justice Kennedy wrote.

The high court sent the case back to the lower courts to determine whether someone renting a car in a fraudulent manner for the purpose of smuggling heroin should be treated differently for the purpose of a search than someone with a more innocent explanation for being left off the rental agreement.

Albert Quirantes: Your Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer & DUI Lawyer

http://www.criminaldefendant.com/

For over 30 years, Miami criminal defense attorney Albert M. Quirantes has been aggressively and zealously defending the rights of those accused of felony and misdemeanor crimesthroughout South Florida. With his dedicated team, reasonable legal fees, and a well-earned reputation for challenging prosecutors at every turn, he has protected over 8,000 clients during some of the roughest times of their lives.

Increase your knowledge! If you want to know more about how to resolve the problems you face when charged with a criminal offense in Florida, then you can follow Miami Criminal Attorney Albert M. Quirantes on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, please call us today at (305) 644-1800 or fill out our online form to arrange for your free, confidential initial consultation.

If you have any questions about this or any other criminal accusation, call Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes at: (305) 644-1800 or visit our homepage www.CriminalDefendant.com for a direct link to the office or a text message or a map and directions to our office.

Featured Posts