Search warrants are a routine activity completed by law enforcement officers. Police officers and detectives complete these affidavits during most criminal investigations and are an important component to protecting a defendant's fourth amendment rights. These warrants serve as protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. It is only upon probable cause that warrants shall be issued by a judicial authority, supported by an oath of affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
For this assignment you are to complete the following steps steps:
Read the following scenario and determine if a search warrant is necessary to complete a search of the vehicle listed. Explain why or why you do not believe a search warrant is necessary.
Now, assume that a search warrant is necessary. You must explain what probable cause exists for you to obtain a search warrant and describe what steps are required for you as the officer on scene to complete a search warrant?
Be sure you are detailed and with your answers, using full and complete sentences.
You must utilize your textbook and other reputable resources to complete your answer. Any resources used must include APA in-text citations and a separate reference page.
You are a Currituck County Police Officer who has just pulled over a blue, Chevy Pick-up, license plate number, 123XYZ for speeding 40 miles over the posted speed limit and driving erratically. The location of the stop occurred on State Rd 168. You get out of your vehicle and become suspicious of possible drug activity based on a large plume of smoke emanating from the driver and passenger side windows. You recognize the odor of the smoke to be that of Marijuana based on your law enforcement training and experience. You make immediate contact with the driver (Michael Simms) and passenger (Dante Stevens). Both appear to have dilated, bloodshot eyes and smell of stale beer. Mr. Simms asks why you pulled him over and you explain that he was observed driving erratically and was traveling 40 miles an hour over the posted speed limit. Mr. Simms looks at you laughing and states that he is sorry and asks if you can just let him off with a warning as he has "places to go". You ask Mr. Simms and Mr. Stevens for their licenses, vehicle registration, and insurance card. While doing this, you ask Mr. Simms if he has been drinking or his passenger have been drinking alcohol or using drugs; both deny drug use; however, they state that they had 2 beers about 3 hours prior and are not drunk. Before heading back to your car you look around both the passenger and driver to see if there is any alcohol beverage containers or drug paraphernalia in plain sight, to which you find none.
You go back to your car to run vehicle information and wants/warrants for both the driver and passenger. Dispatch reports that Mr. Simms had been arrested for "drunk in public" two months ago, Mr. Stevens has no criminal history, and the vehicle is registered to the driver, and all his insurance and registration information is up to date. Still suspicious that the driver is drunk or under the influence of drugs you head back to Mr. Simms and request a sobriety and breathalyzer test. You request Mr. Simms to get out his vehicle to perform the sobriety test, to which he fails, and blows a .18 on the breathalyzer. You inform Mr. Simms that he is under arrest for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and place him in the back of your vehicle, handcuffed. You again ask if he or Mr. Stevens use any type of drugs, to which he denies. You ask Mr. Simms if you can search his vehicle to which he also denies. You return to the passenger, Mr. Stevens, and again ask if Mr. Simms uses any kind of drugs. Mr. Stevens relates that he and Mr. Simms use marijuana and crack cocaine occasionally but have not today and do not have any in their possession. You ask Mr. Stevens if you can search his person, to which he denies. At this point you detain Mr. Stevens, securing him with handcuffs and also place him the backseat of your vehicle as a precaution.
You request dispatch to send a drug dog to your location. Once K-9 Officer Max arrives he is lead around the vehicle and indicates under the driver's side seat, backseat and trunk area. As such, you file an affidavit with the court to search the vehicle.