The automobile exception to the general warrant requirement as it was formulated in the Fourth Amendment can be explained with the inherent mobility of vehicles and impracticality of receiving warrants in particular situational contexts. The case Carroll vs. United States preconditioned the formulation of the Carroll exception which permits the warrantless search of a vehicle under the exigent circumstances.
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After the enforcement of the automobile exception in 1925, courts recognized the difference between the searches of buildings and searches of ships, automobiles and wagons which can be quickly moved from the location before the police officers receive a warrant. A warrantless car search is valid only in case if the three following demands are satisfied. The first is the requirement of applying the exception to the readily mobile vehicles only.
For example, the warrantless search of a container that has been removed from a vehicle does not undergo Carroll doctrine. The searches under the automobile exception do not extend to containers which have been separated from the vehicle as well as the body search of passengers (Ferdico, Fradella, and Totten, 2008, p. 596). The second requirement is the probable cause for searching the automobile. The probable cause cannot be justified with the personal perception of an officer, the detected smell, for example.
On the other hand, the smell of drugs that has been detected by police dogs is sufficient for reasoning a probable cause and conducting a warrantless search of a vehicle (Ferdico, Fradella, and Totten , 2008, p. 593). The third requirement is the impracticality of receiving a warrant in every particular situation because of the mobility of the vehicles and the risks that important evidence can be lost because of the time lag required for receiving a warrant.
The warrantless search of a car is valid on condition that the three requirements of Carroll doctrine are met and the exception is reconciled with other amendments.
The enforcement of the hot pursuit exception to the general warrant requirement carved out in the Fourth Amendment is constitutional on condition that it prevents the threats to people and evidence.
The hot pursuit exception was recognized by the Supreme Court in the case of Warden vs. Hayden in 1967 when a taxi company had been robbed. In that case the police followed the suspect to his house and were let in it by his wife. During the search of the house, the policemen found clothing and gun which had been used by the robber.
The warrantless entry and search was recognized as reasonable by the Supreme Court. “The exigencies of the situation made that course imperative” (Worall, 2010, p. 142). The Supreme Court decided in favor of police, and the case became the basis for formulation of the hot pursuit exception. In order not to sacrifice the interests of suspects, the Supreme Court has formulated the five restrictions for the warrantless searches associated with hot pursuit.
According to these restrictions, the warrantless entry and search is possible only on the condition of a probable cause and the reasons to believe that procrastination would result in harm to people or evidence. A hot pursuit investigation has to start from a lawful point and the exception under consideration is applicable to serious offenses only. In case if the police has an opportunity to obtain a warrant without sacrificing the investigations results, they should do it.
The hot pursuit exception favors the benefits of the investigation process but the five restrictions are aimed at regulating the cases of warrantless searches and protecting the rights of the suspects.
Ferdico, J., Fradella, H., and Totten, C. (2008). Criminal procedure for the criminal justice professional. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
Worrall, J. (2010). Criminal procedure: From first contact to appeal (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.