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Old 05-31-2011, 10:00 AM   #15
doc
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"As I understand it a motor home is considered a motor vehicle and they can search a vehicle without a search warrant, all they need is probable cause. "


That is correct. It is called exigent circumstances. This is a mobile environment and as such is subject to the search warrant rule. However, officer must be able to articulate before a judge or magistrate the circumstances that led him to believe there was evidence that would be lost had he waited and obtained a warrant. A locked suitcase or briefcase is a different matter. In this situation it would require the officer to seize the case and then obtain a warrant to open the case, articulating his probable cause.
In either case he must show probable cause and if the trial judge rules there was insufficient or no probable cause then the seized evidence or the entire search warrant is invalid.
An interesting situation - searching for stolen property for example. If the warrant says you are looking for something large, like a generator for example, then the officer is not allowed to look into medicine cabinets or cabinet drawers.
Long winded I know, but I was in the business for 27 years.
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:32 AM   #16
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As best I know, a motor coach traveling down the road is under the same laws as any other vehicle. The laws may differ by state. If a motor coach is set up for living in a CG (shore utilities connected, slides out, etc.), the motor coach is now under the same laws as any house or dwelling. While I can not quote the laws, they are different for vehicles and houses.
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:46 AM   #17
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Border patrol requires probable cause to search. They will tell you they don't but it is a lie. They rely on intimidation to get you to consent. Do some youtube searches for some examples.

.
Funny you mention youtube because I just watched a clip of three guys who got arrested for some reason and had their coach searched. It was destroyed! Molding pulled off of the walls, couch torn apart, etc.

Now, there's no indication of why they were arrested (although they claim it was an illegal arrest) so we don't know if it was justified but they can really do a number on a MH which is searched.

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Old 05-31-2011, 11:02 AM   #18
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Agree be polite, respectful and don't get a smart as* attitude. At the same time I would not necessarily agree to a search. Yes, they can get a warrant or send a K9 unit. Either of which is a delay and PITA for all involved. Still, guess I am just an old stiff neck, or is it red neck, that believes rights of to be both guarded and exercised. Otherwise they will simply be lost. As has happened to far to many already.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:18 AM   #19
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A friend was asking me if I carried a weapon in my RV. It made me wonder if the police can search your RV if you were pulled over or not? Has anyone here had this happen to them?
mrpardee--In response to your question it seems no one responding has actually had this happen to them. I had an entry when I was crossing the Boulder Dam in Arizona. Also one when crossing the Arizona border looking for fruit (they did take some lemons) they looked through the rig.

If you are going to carry weapons it is good to know the laws and abide by them. If I had a wapon and it was obvious and improperly carried both of these situations may have ended differently.

The chances of any sort of random search by police is so remote it seems that it should not be worrysome. I have never heard a tale of such nor do I worry about it at all.

If however, we are speeding, have tail lights out. no brake on tow, the front TV running,and a poor attitude etc; the chances of further incursion by the police is always a possibility. Be prepared.
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Old 05-31-2011, 01:03 PM   #20
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To answer the O.P. the police can do anything they want. Probable cause/search&seizure will determine whether they get a conviction or even prosecute the charge.
As previously mentioned "area accessible to the driver" is another consideration. An officer seeing something "in plain sight" has probable cause to investigate further.
Most L.E. contacting you on a traffic stop will not inquire about weapons or open containers, etc. unless an R.P. reports you or your actions warrant further investigation.
If asked I'd reply "no" as a postive response provides them with probable cause.
Someone entering my coach has to get by my wife and three dogs before the cat and I worry.
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Old 05-31-2011, 01:12 PM   #21
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A gun in a locked case in a locked cabinet.... Well, that's not the same as a gun on your hip.. And that's all I'm going to say.. Gun laws vary from state to state and in some cases city to city within the state so all I can tell you is the guns I cary shoot one of the following:

Air, Water, Solder (heat) Lubricants, Paint, and the like.

Firearms.. Only if I make a mistake lighting the campfire.

As to can police search? This is a hotly debated question, and it's been brought to those men in the long black robes many times.. There is something called a "Search pursuant to arrest" where the officer can indeed search those areas of the vehicle which the driver can access.. Further if the driver is arrested and there is no one else to drive it off, then there is the second "Search pursuiant to Impound" where they can do the bumper to bumper bit.. Every square inch, And still find the dun on the tow truck's flat bed (Assuming it's flat bedded) when the driver unloads (Been there, called the police to come pick up the gun, (Dispatched tow trucks after I retired from dispatching police)

So yes, they can, if they insist, find a reason to search.

My advice here: Make them follow the law and get a warrant if at all possible.> EPICALLY if you have nothing to hide.
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Old 05-31-2011, 03:19 PM   #22
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Most states consider everything in a motorhome behind the driving position to be "home" rather than "vehicle". So, for example, someone in the back can imbibe an adult beverage with impunity. And it cannot be searched without your permission.

If it happens otherwise, I would cooperate "under protest", try to have witnesses to whatever is said and done, and get a lawyer as soon as possible.
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Old 05-31-2011, 08:15 PM   #23
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I agree that weather you carry a weapon is no ones business. I am always pleasant and curteous whenever I have been pulled over. It is usually deserved! I do not want any trouble. I appreciate the info everybody has given. I will have to check with each state obviously.
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Old 05-31-2011, 08:15 PM   #24
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If a LEO asks to search any of my vehicle, I would reply "No". When he says (and he will because of his training) "You dont have anything to hide do you"? My response is "No, I have something to protect. My rights."
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Old 05-31-2011, 08:41 PM   #25
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Search and Seizure

Quote:
Originally Posted by doc View Post
"As I understand it a motor home is considered a motor vehicle and they can search a vehicle without a search warrant, all they need is probable cause. "


That is correct. It is called exigent circumstances. This is a mobile environment and as such is subject to the search warrant rule. However, officer must be able to articulate before a judge or magistrate the circumstances that led him to believe there was evidence that would be lost had he waited and obtained a warrant. A locked suitcase or briefcase is a different matter. In this situation it would require the officer to seize the case and then obtain a warrant to open the case, articulating his probable cause.
In either case he must show probable cause and if the trial judge rules there was insufficient or no probable cause then the seized evidence or the entire search warrant is invalid.
An interesting situation - searching for stolen property for example. If the warrant says you are looking for something large, like a generator for example, then the officer is not allowed to look into medicine cabinets or cabinet drawers.
Long winded I know, but I was in the business for 27 years.
Doc wasn't long winded, just accurate. Attitudes during traffic stops play a large role in what may happen next. Probable cause must exist for the stop to be made in the first place, profile stops will be definately challanged in any court of law. Some Officers will ask for your consent to search sometime, but if you give it you still have the right to revoke that consent at any time. Also worth mentioning is the "Plain View Doctrine", if the Officers have stopped you and illegal items or evidence is observed by the officers while they are looking in or at from outside they now have PC and can proceed to search further especially if its a vehicle (Exigent Circumstances).
Your demeanor an attitude will set the stage in most cases, however if they come at you with a warrant in hand this is no fishing expidition, they knew you were comming and most likely what you have before you left home.
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Old 06-02-2011, 07:20 PM   #26
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Interesting side note: I was listening to a conservation on ham radio between one of my former co-workers and a freiend.. He was talking about Police officers, going to another state to return an arrested fugitive for trial.. And how in many cases they had to, (I'm paraphrasing here just a bit so as to rewrite a line from a song) "Leave their guns at home Son, don't take your guns along"

Fully uniformed, (Save for the gun) Certified Law Endorcement officers, Some of the best in the country,, and they had to leave their guns back in the post armory.
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Old 06-02-2011, 07:50 PM   #27
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If there is a reason for a police officer to fear for his safety, in most states he/she can search any area that is considered "grabable" space to a suspect. That being said, if the driver is out of the car or RV, he no longer can "grab" any weapon from the vehicle and the officer has no need to search...but because the coach is not fully visable, a law enforcement officer may treat it like a residence and feel the need to search for "other suspects" within the coach that could be hiding within with a weapon.

And as mentioned in a previous post, in the event of an arrest, a vehicle can be searched with the excuse of doing an inventory seach in conjunction with impound purposes.

But don't get me started on "search and seizure" rules.....GRRRRR. As a lawyer doing occasional criminal work, I hate the subject. Much too much wiggle room for my taste... In both directions....

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Old 06-02-2011, 08:00 PM   #28
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If a police officer wants to get in your motorhome--------He will get in----one way or the other. with or without your permission.
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