Must a Vehicle Be Located in a PVA to Be Searched Without a Warrant?

In State v. Parker, __ N.C. App. __, __ S.E.2d __, 2022 WL 4850255 (Oct. 4, 2022), the Court of Appeals considered the warrantless search of a vehicle that took place at a gas station. The court upheld the legality of the search based on probable cause that the vehicle contained evidence of drug activity. In the course of its opinion, the court stated that “the automobile exception [to the warrant requirement] . . . requires that the vehicle be in a public vehicular area.” Is that right?

Read more

Asking for Consent to Search During a Traffic Stop

Suppose an officer conducts a traffic stop. During the stop, the officer gets a hunch that the driver may have drugs in the car. Can the officer ask the driver for consent to search the car? Even without reasonable suspicion? Does the time it takes to ask for consent, or the time it takes to conduct the search, unlawfully extend the stop? I’ll try to answer these important questions in this post.

Read more

Relief from (Un?)Fair Sentencing

One of our loyal readers asked for our take on the provision in the motion for appropriate relief (MAR) statute that allows a defendant to seek relief at any time when “[t]here has been a significant change in law, either substantive or procedural, applied in the proceedings leading to the defendant’s conviction or sentence, and … Read more