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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 118880 Find in a Library
Title: General Warrant of the Twentieth Century? A Fourth Amendment Solution to Unchecked Discretion to Arrest for Traffic Offenses
Journal: Temple Law Review  Volume:62  Issue:1  Dated:(Spring 1989)  Pages:221-275
Author(s): B C Salken
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 55
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article argues that the fourth amendment prohibits arrests for minor traffic offenses, thus preventing unjustified searches incident to arrest for traffic offenses.
Abstract: In many jurisdictions police can arrest drivers for minor traffic offenses, creating the occasion for a comprehensive search of the person and the vehicle. This article examines the U.S. Supreme Court decisions that have permitted this problem to develop, followed by an assessment of the solutions proposed by other commentators and a survey of how the 50 States have responded. The article concludes that few States have satisfactorily eliminated the danger of pretextual arrests for traffic offenses. Consideration of the fourth amendment implications of custodial arrests for traffic offenses shows that the authority to arrest for a traffic offense creates power to search tantamount to the unlimited and arbitrary authority that led to the adoption of the fourth amendment. Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions provide a basis for examining the reasonableness of government intrusions and lead to the conclusion that custodial arrests for minor traffic infractions offend the requirements of the fourth amendment. 357 footnotes.
Index Term(s): Arrest procedures; Traffic offenses
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