Do You Know Your Rights as a Driver? - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Do You Know Your Rights as a Driver?

Jeff Blackburn, local defense attorney Jeff Blackburn, local defense attorney
Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas

Some say it encourages law enforcement to strip you of your constitutional rights... But others defend it's one of the best ways to clean up drug trafficking on I-40. Here's what a recent Supreme Court decision means for you.

It's all over the national news and printed on the front pages of big newspapers... The US Supreme Court rules that law enforcement is now limited in their ability to search your vehicle without a warrant.

From the US Supreme court to highways of the Texas Panhandle... If you're pulled over, local law enforcement says you need to know your rights. But, don't learn them from the headlines. APD's Cpl. Jerry Neufeld says, "I'm afraid that's what people will look at that and just think the headline says you can't search my car, you can't search my car and that's not true. If there's probable cause or if there's an offense in plain view we can still search that car."

One local defense attorney is pleased with the court's mandate that police must have a specific reason to search your car... Saying it will keep them in check. Jeff Blackburn says, "I think it's a great thing to see the court say look you don't have a free license to violate every single part of the bill of rights every single day they are out in a patrol car."

Part two of the decision says your car cannot be searched after you are detained in the back of a squad car. If you are in that situation, you might see officers going through your vehicle, but, despite appearance, they say they're not breaking any laws.

Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas says, "We're responsible for whatever is in that car, so at the point we can inventory the car. It's not a search. It's an inventory so we can record everything that's in your car." So, as it stands right now, this ruling will not change any search and seizure rules here in the Panhandle.

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