Recent Court Decisions-DUI’S & CAR SEARCHES
DUI-You have a right to choose between a breath or blood test
The general rule is that if you are lawfully arrested for driving under the influence of a drug or alcohol, the officer should tell you that you have a statutory right to choose between a breath and blood test. However, the California Court of Appeals recently held that when a police officer tells you that your only choice is to submit to a blood test, the results are admissible provided that you freely and voluntarily consent to the blood test. (People v. Vannesse (May 16, 2018, B283857)-Cal.App. 5th) Therefore, if you want a breath test, you should tell the officer that you have a right to choose between the two and that you want a breath test, do not consent to a blood test.
Police officers cannot search a rental car merely because your name is not on the rental car agreement
The general rule is that an owner of a vehicle has a reasonable expectation of privacy. But what if you are driving a rental car and your name is not listed on the rental car agreement, what then, do officers have a right to search the car? The United States Supreme Court held that a driver who is in lawful possession or control of a rental car has a reasonable expectation of privacy even if the rental agreement does not list the person as an authorized driver and officers cannot use this as a basis to search the vehicle. (Byrd v. U.S., 16-1371; May, 14, 2018)
Automobiles parked within the curtilage of the home cannot be searched
Generally speaking, a police officer may search a vehicle without a warrant if the officer has probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed. However, the United States Supreme Court recently held that police officers cannot search a vehicle that is parked within the curtilage of your home. (Collins v. Virginia; 16-1027; May 29, 2018) What is the curtilage? It is the area immediately surrounding the home and is associated with it.