Now, based on the opinion, it only takes reasonable probable cause for an officer to go ahead with a search without a warrant.
“The prerequisite for a warrantless search of a motor vehicle is probable cause to search,” McCaffery writes in the opinion. “We adopt the federal automobile exception… which allows police officers to search a motor vehicle when there is probable cause to do so…”
Previously, a warrantless search was only allowed if “exigent circumstances” existed, the opinion states.
“This case gives the police simpler guidelines to follow and (it) finally and clearly renders our law consistent with established federal law,” Stedman said.
“It is a ruling that helps law enforcement as they continue to find people in possession of illegal drugs,” New Holland police Lt. Jonathan Heisse said Wednesday.
While police rejoice over what’s been a lasting issue, citizens might not be as thrilled.
“It’s an expanding encroachment of government power,” defense attorney Jeffrey Conrad said Wednesday morning, while reviewing the 62-page opinion. “It’s a protection we had two days ago, that we don’t have today. It’s disappointing from a citizens’ rights perspective.”