For this assignment, you are writing a 2-3 page paper about what you (a police officer) would do during a traffic stop. The facts of the traffic stop are discussed below.

There are specific questions following the scenario that you MUST address in your paper.

Traffic Stop Scenario
You stop a vehicle 2AM for a broken taillight. The vehicle is a 4-door sedan. Your partner asks the driver for her license and registration while you shine your flashlight in the back seat to see if anyone else in the vehicle. You do not see anyone in the back seat, but you observe what looks like a handgun on the back seat and several loose pills on the seat as well.

What can you do? What will you do?

Discuss these questions in your paper: (Do not write your answers in a list):

  1. What safety concerns, if any, do you have?
  2. Can you order the driver out of the car?
  3. Can you take the handgun?
  4. Can you take the pills?
  5. Are any other additional searches justified or lawful?
    1. Can you search the trunk?
    2. Can you look in the glove compartment?

In answering these questions, identify and discuss the legal issues regarding traffic stops, warrant requirements, and searches of vehicles.

  • In other words, what are the rules about search warrant regarding traffic stops and seizure of evidence from a vehicle?
  • What authority does an officer have in this situation?
  • Where can the officer search and why?
  • ***Be sure to include proper citations, including cases where necessary, to support your analysis and conclusions.
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