The Inquisitive Prosecutors’ Guide

2020-IPG-43 (LOPEZ TERMINATES ARTURO D. VEHICLES SEARCHS FOR PERSONAL ID)

May 27, 2020

2020-IPG-43 (LOPEZ TERMINATES ARTURO D. VEHICLES SEARCHS FOR PERSONAL ID)

In this edition of IPG, we address the California Supreme Court case of People v. Lopez (2019) 8 Cal.5th 353, which held that searches of vehicles stopped for a traffic infraction will generally violate the Fourth Amendment if based solely upon the driver’s failure to provide a license or other identification upon request.  This holding overruled an earlier decision of the California Supreme Court in In re Arturo D. (2002) 27 Cal.4th 60.  We also discuss some of the potential questions that might arise regarding what officers can or cannot do in light of the decision and its rationale, as well as potential alternative exceptions to the warrant requirement that will allow vehicle searches in situations that often may be present when a driver has no identification.   

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