The police stop you for an alleged driving infraction – speeding, failure to stay in lane, tinted windows – and while talking with you the officer smells the odor of marijuana. The officer asks you to step out of the car, searches the car and finds drugs. You contact a criminal defense attorney to defend you and explore the possibility of a motion to suppress the search. If you are the driver of a personal vehicle or the owner, you have what is known as an expectation of privacy and “standing” to suppress the search. However, if you are a passenger of the vehicle, or the driver of a rental car that was rented by a friend or family member and you are not listed on the rental agreement, you may lack standing to challenge the search of the vehicle.
Back in April, I wrote about airport and border searches of average travelers coming back to the United States from their business or personal trips abroad. Since you are coming back across our border, law enforcement does not need probable cause to suspect that a crime has been committed, that you were involved, and that evidence of that criminal conduct is on your laptop, tablet or smart phone.