Five Things to Know About Your Fourth Amendment Rights and Traffic Stops in Missouri

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Learn About Traffic Stops and Fourth Amendment Rights

When you are driving in Kansas City and you are stopped by a law enforcement official for a traffic violation or another violation of the law like driving while intoxicated (DWI), it is essential to know that you have certain rights under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Fourth Amendment provides protections against unlawful search and seizure, which are essential rights in a traffic stop, even if you are stopped on suspicion of a DWI. The following are five things to know about your Fourth Amendment rights and traffic stops.

1. Law Enforcement Officers Need Reasonable Suspicion for a Stop

Under the Fourth Amendment, in order for a stop to be lawful, a law enforcement official must have what is known as “reasonable suspicion.” While it can be difficult to show that there was no reasonable suspicion for a stop, an experienced Kansas City traffic defense lawyer can analyze the facts of your case and help you to determine whether you may be able to argue that a Fourth Amendment violation occurred in your case.

2. Law Enforcement Officials Need Probable Cause for a Search

In order to conduct a search under the Fourth Amendment, the police must have what is known as “probable cause.” Probable cause is more than reasonable suspicion. You should know that a “search” not only includes a physical search of your vehicle, but it also includes taking a breath or chemical sample to determine whether you were driving under the influence.

3. You Must be Read Your Miranda Rights if You are Arrested

The Fourth Amendment requires that you be read your Miranda rights if you are arrested—a process known as being “Mirandized.” Your Miranda rights inform you that you have the right to remain silent, that anything you say can be held against you in a court of law, and that you have a right to an attorney. If you are not advised of your Miranda rights, a traffic arrest may be unlawful.

4. No Warrant is Needed to Make a DWI Arrest

While a warrant is necessary in certain cases, you can be arrested for a DWI without a warrant.

5. Warrant May be Necessary for a Blood Test

A U.S. Supreme Court case from 2019 ruled in a 5-4 decision that “people driving on a public road have impliedly consented to having their blood drawn if police suspect them of driving under the influence.” In addition, according to an NPR report about the case, the Court said that “exigent circumstances permit police to obtain a blood sample without a warrant.” This case suggested that previous U.S. Supreme Court case decisions concerning DUI and DWI blood tests were not as significant an invasion of privacy as previously indicated. However, a warrant may still be necessary for a blood test.

To be clear, drivers do give implied consent to a breathalyzer or other non-invasive blood test whenever they get behind the wheel of a car in Kansas City.

Contact a Kansas City Traffic Lawyer for Help

If you have questions about being stopped or searched in your vehicle, you should speak with a Kansas City traffic lawyer about your Fourth Amendment rights. Contact Aimee the Attorney for more information about how our firm can help to fight your traffic charges.

Aimee Gromowsky

Aimee Gromowsky is formerly an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Jackson County and currently a private practice lawyer. Ms. Gromowsky handles thousands of cases in Kansas City, Missouri area courts and was honored with a “Best in Bar” award in 2007 and 2008 from the Kansas City Business Journal. As a Kansas City traffic lawyer, Aimee is determined to represent you in your case by providing exceptional legal counsel and service.