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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rejects Search of Automobile

Posted On: January 9, 2014 by Marc Neff

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania recently reviewed a case involving “live-stop” procedures. A police Corporal in Harrisburg, PA initiated a vehicle stop after the defendant was observed entering the flow of traffic without using a turn signal. The vehicle, driven by the defendant, pulled over and came to rest with the passenger side tires close to the curb so that the vehicle was not blocking traffic or causing a safety hazard. The defendant was found to be driving under a suspended license and without the required emissions sticker.

The defendant was placed under arrest and the Corporal initiated the inventory policy of the vehicle because the vehicle was to be towed under a “towing policy” of the police department. The defendant indicated that his friend drove a tow truck and could take possession of the vehicle. The Corporal eventually searched the trunk of the vehicle discovering two guns.

After review, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that the Corporal had no basis to tow the defendant’s vehicle since it was not blocking traffic or creating a safety hazard. Therefore a search of the vehicle for inventory purposes was improper and the evidence of the weapons was to be suppressed.


All persons charged with crimes are entitled to the protections afforded by the United States Constitution and the rules of evidence in a criminal court of law. An experienced criminal defense attorney helps to ensure that a defendant’s rights are protected before, during and after a trial. If you have been charged with or convicted of a criminal offense, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney immediately. For a confidential consultation, contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff at (215) 563-9800 or via email at marc@nefflawoffices.com.

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Posted in: Misdemeanor / Felony Crimes