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NCJ Number: 220277 Find in a Library
Title: Vehicle Pursuits and the Fourth Amendment: A Roadmap for Police
Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:76  Issue:10  Dated:October 2007  Pages:23-32
Author(s): Carl A. Benoit J.D.
Date Published: October 2007
Page Count: 10
Document: HTML
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the application of the fourth amendment to motor vehicle pursuits and addresses issues that relate to the admissibility of evidence and potential civil liability for injuries or deaths sustained by the subject of the pursuit.
Abstract: When a police officer signals a driver to pull over and the driver complies, a "seizure" has occurred because a reasonable person would not feel free to ignore the officer's show of authority. From this point, the interaction between the officer and the driver falls under the scope of the fourth-amendment requirement that a seizure be reasonable in order to be lawful. For a seizure to be reasonable, the officer must generally make the seizure on the basis of either probable cause or reasonable suspicion that the vehicle's driver or a passenger is involved in activity that violates criminal or motor vehicle laws. When a driver refuses to comply with the police order to stop and attempts to evade police authority, there is no seizure while the driver continues to evade the control of the police. A seizure occurs only when the fleeing driver is stopped through specific police action designed to seize the driver, such as by ramming the fleeing vehicle or by establishing a roadblock. If a fleeing vehicle crashes because the driver loses control of the vehicle, this does not constitute a seizure, since the police were not directly involved in stopping the vehicle. When a police officer's actions during a vehicle pursuit do not rise to the level of a seizure, the officer's conduct is governed under the due process clause of the fourth amendment rather than the seizure clause. The due process issue will be addressed in a future article.
Main Term(s): Police legal training
Index Term(s): Legal liability; Police pursuit driving; Search and seizure; Search and seizure laws; Search and seizure training; Vehicle stops
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