The United States Supreme Court recently issued another blow to the 4th Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizures. The ruling caused controversy when they declared that a vehicle may be stopped based on an anonymous 911 tip.
In a recent case in California, an anonymous female 911 caller reported a vehicle had almost run her off the road. After the lady had described the car and its location to the police, the officers responded and found the vehicle near the reported location. Even though the police did not witness any driving that would lead them to believe that the driver was intoxicated or engaging in any criminal activity, the police still pulled over the vehicle.
After approaching the vehicle, the officers claimed to smell fresh marijuana and then searched the vehicle, finding marijuana. The controversy of this search, which the new ruling of the 4th amendment allows, is that the anonymous 911 phone call was the only grounds the officers had to pull over the vehicle, which led to the finding of marijuana. The occupants of the vehicle moved to suppress the evidence based on a bad stop, but the lower court ultimately denied the motion.
It has been made clear in the subsequent posts on this blog that Arizona takes impaired driving very seriously. The Court's opinions states that,
1) Anonymous 911 reports of traffic violations are reliable so long as they correctly identify a car and its location.
2) A single instance of careless or reckless driving necessarily supports a reasonable suspicion of drunkenness.
However, even though drunk driving is a serious matter, so is the loss of our freedom to come and go as we please without police interference.
If you feel that an officer has violated your rights in an unreasonable search, attorneys at the Rosenstein Law Group are here to help. Our attorneys handle cases from We make sure that every client knows their rights, and each of our attorneys make sure that your rights are never taken advantage of.