chat

Fighting for the Rights
of Today's Families

Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Decision Changes PA Search & Seizure Law

Click below to share this on social media:

By 

Earlier this summer, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court relaxed the requirements for search and seizure relating to motor vehicles in the state. Traditionally, police officers were required to have a warrant in order to search a vehicle after a traffic stop, but now these requirements have been lessened by the Court’s ruling.

Prior to this ruling, if a person were pulled over for a minor traffic violation, but the police had a suspicion that there was other contraband in the vehicle, the officer would normally have to get a warrant to search the car, unless he got the consent of the driver to conduct a search. With today’s technology, getting a warrant was not the difficult, as all police vehicles are equipped with computers. In its ruling, however, the state’s highest court decided that the warrant requirement was not a necessity in order to carry out a proper search and seizure.

The PA Supreme court made its decision to get rid of the warrant requirement in some circumstances because of a traffic stop case in Philadelphia that made its way up to the Court. In the Philly case, the defendant was pulled over by officers and when they were walking to the car the cops noticed a strong scent of marijuana. Upon being confronted about the smell the defendant admitted that he had some of the drug in his car. Because of his admission and the strong odor coming from the car the officers searched the car and found a large amount of marijuana inside.

The issue in this case was the fact that the cops failed to obtain a warrant or permission from the driver prior to searching the vehicle. Prior to the PA Supreme Court’s ruling in this case, the admission by the driver was not enough to allow the cops to search the car without a warrant or consent, but now the Court decided that probable cause was enough to allow the police to search the car. Now, therefore, the standard for cops to be able to search a vehicle that was stopped for a violation of a PA traffic law is probable cause. The police no longer needed to obtain a warrant or get the driver’s permission before searching a vehicle if they have probable cause to believe that contraband will be found inside.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision in this case has resulted in a change in a PA law that has been around for many years. There are still questions regarding the new standard and exactly what is enough to equal probable cause. It is also unclear how the change will impact routine traffic stops in the future and how it will impact individuals who drive motorcycles.

If you are facing criminal charges that resulted from a search and seizure made during a routine traffic stop, contact our Pennsylvania criminal law attorneys at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates. Our team of lawyers makes sure to stay up to date on the latest developments in Pennsylvania search and seizure law and can provide you with information regarding your rights under the new law.

Request A Consultation by filling out the form below.

  • Contact Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C.
  • Let us make this process easier. Contact us by email below or call 1-844-VARI-LAW (1-844-827-4529) to schedule a confidential consultation.
[]
1 Step 1
Previous
Next
powered by FormCraft

Pennsylvania Office Locations

Allegheny County – Main Office

Manor Building, Penthouse Suite
564 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Phone: 412-281-9906
Get Directions

Washington County:

2400 Ansys Dr., Suite 102
Canonsburg, PA 15317
Phone: 724-436-5500
Get Directions

Butler County Law Office

2009 Mackenzie Way, Suite 184
Cranberry Township, PA 16066
Phone: 724-776-9906
Get Directions

Clearfield County Law Office

Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C.
114 1/2 S. Second Street
Clearfield, PA 16830
Phone: 814-290-0587
Get Directions

Allegheny County – Main Office

Manor Building, Penthouse Suite 564 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Phone: 412-281-9906
Get Directions

Washington County Office

2400 Ansys Dr., Suite 102 Canonsburg, PA 15317
Phone: 724-436-5500
Get Directions

Butler County Law Office

2009 Mackenzie Way, Suite 184 Cranberry Township, PA 16066
Phone: 724-776-9906
Get Directions

Clearfield County Law Office

Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C. 114 1/2 S. Second StreetClearfield, PA 16830
Phone: 814-290-0587
Get Directions

Miami-Dade County

1200 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1950
Miami, FL 33131
Phone: 305-222-7351
Get Directions

Swipe for More Locations

Florida Meeting Location

Connect With Us
Miami-Dade County

1200 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1950
Miami, FL 33131
Phone: 305-222-7351
Get Directions

Request a Consultation

request a consultation

by filling out the form below
  • Schedule A Confidential Consultation.
[]
1 Step 1
Previous
Next
powered by FormCraft