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Old 10-09-2018, 11:37 AM   #1
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4A Search and Seizure Rights in Airstream

Howdy,

How does 4th Amendment apply to trailers?


More questions but I'll see how the answers go before adding on!

Thanks,
R44
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Old 10-09-2018, 11:55 AM   #2
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The Googleator quickly turned up these insights - caveat emptor...

http://www.marxrv.com/skp/4thamendment.htm

https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/c...motorhome.html

https://www.inthervnow.com/home/2017...search-your-rv
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Old 10-09-2018, 12:00 PM   #3
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A rough estimate, has to do with steps down and using it as an abode, the act of living in it.
This will have issues as to where you are living in it, road side using the toilet, rest stops, rv camping spot.
As I understand it, these points haven't been hammered out in court fully with a legal presedent applied.
I'm reading^
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Old 10-09-2018, 12:01 PM   #4
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Good links SSM, but most of the language was about motorized self-propelled RV's I think, on a quick read.

A trailer, which is not hooked up to the tow vehicle, would be much more akin to a "home" [ as in mobile home! ], so it would be treated more like a home, in terms of "probable cause," or "reasonable suspicion," IMO.

The various standards for warrant-less searches are applied on the unique facts of each situation, on a case-by-case basis.

One heads up -- don't leave anything visible inside which can be viewed [through a window] from outside the trailer, because the land on which a police officer walks might be public, or a CG owner could give the officer permission to walk around. The "Plain View" exception to the 4th Amendment's protections is a vast cavern of permission to search IMO.

More later when I get back home.

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Old 10-09-2018, 12:24 PM   #5
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Agreed Peter - while the 3rd link touched on trailers a bit - it’s the area with the least amount of light shed on the topic. Even searching directly for “travel trailers” produced mostly “RV” results...
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Old 10-09-2018, 01:53 PM   #6
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Interesting question. Generally will be judged on whether you have an "expectation of privacy" in the trailer. Courts have found a lesser expectation of privacy in a vehicle than a home. A factor might be the trailer's use at the time of search (parked at a campground/state park/national park/Walmart parking lot or rolling down the highway on the way from Mexico to Iowa). Also the length of time it has been parked and/or used for residence. There are other factors which could be examined by a court in determining whether a warrantless search of your trailer was valid or not. A law enforcement officer cannot use your refusal to allow a search as a factor to support probable cause to seek a warrant, since you are asserting a Constitutional right. You waive that right by consenting to search, so if you don't want a search of your trailer, don't consent. As stated in post #4, don't leave contraband in plain view. A good law enforcement officer will generally seek a warrant if there is time and no exigent circumstance. The officer must give you a copy of the warrant.
I retired from the practice of law ten years ago, so some of the information may be outdated. However, if you have a real concern, consult a lawyer, it's how we make a living.
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Old 10-09-2018, 01:55 PM   #7
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What are you hiding? Asking for a friend???
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Old 10-09-2018, 03:45 PM   #8
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What are you hiding? Asking for a friend???
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Smuggling fire works into CA. Ha

Asking for A friend of course
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Old 10-15-2018, 01:53 PM   #9
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Howdy,

How does 4th Amendment apply to trailers?


More questions but I'll see how the answers go before adding on!

Thanks,
R44



Well generally speaking if authorities have some probable cause which can be minor or a reason then they will be going in. Its easier for them to ask forgiveness after the fact then ask permission. If its a probable cause is misdemeanor or felony based then in all 50 states they are going to bust open that door one way or another. Most don't realize that actually. Its just like if your subject to a felony arrest anything and everything can be used to bring you in and about all 50 states have blanket immunity to authorities for any actions that pertain to that. Thats why grand juror's throw out charges to police officers.
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Old 10-15-2018, 02:43 PM   #10
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With all the hand wringing over the 2nd, here it was the 4th we should have been worried about all along -- especially now in the digital iPhone age.

Does the 4th still mean anything today in practice?
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Old 10-16-2018, 11:02 AM   #11
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With all the hand wringing over the 2nd, here it was the 4th we should have been worried about all along -- especially now in the digital iPhone age.

Does the 4th still mean anything today in practice?



Of course it does but alot of the people that are in office know a lawsuit to roll back a law will take years and often outside of the scope of their term so places <cough> <cough> (Calfornia) pass laws for short term gains knowing it will not withstand the scrutiny of the courts. By the time it happens they are long gone.
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Old 10-16-2018, 11:16 AM   #12
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I keep telling the wife - “ the next time you are arrested, don’t say a word”...
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