• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court expanded the range of warrantless automobile searches.

New York police officers stopped an automobile for speeding and ordered the occupants to step out of the car. The officers found cocaine in the pocket of a coat that had been left in the car and belonged to one of the car’s occupants. Citing Chimel v. California[case]Chimel v. California[Chimel v. California] (1969), the Supreme Court upheld the search by a vote of six to three because the coat had been within the reach of the occupant while he was in the car. This ruling arguably expanded the permissible areas to be searched by police without a warrant. Justices William J. Brennan, Jr., and Byron R. White dissented, arguing that the majority had misunderstood the case on which they were relying. In Chimel, the Court had permitted searches of the immediate area only to protect the police officer and prevent evidence from being destroyed. In addition, the area searched had to be within the reach of the accused at the time of the arrest, not simply an area that could have been reached at some point.Automobile searches;New York v. Belton[New York v. Belton]

Automobile searches

Chimel v. California

Exclusionary rule

Fourth Amendment

Katz v. United States

Mapp v. Ohio

Olmstead v. United States

Search warrant requirement

Weeks v. United States

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