Fourth Amendment

Cell Phone Tower Schematic

Cell Phone Tower Data and Search Warrants

Cell Phone Towers & Investigations Can the Government get your historical cell tower data without a warrant? Cell phone data is used by law enforcement in order to try to pinpoint the location of a person during the commission of a crime. Even in idle mode, cell phones constantly ping towers, often pinging different nearby…

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North Carolina Police Using Fake 911 Calls

Indy Week’s John Tucker has uncovered an amazing story of Durham Police claiming fake 911 calls in order to gain entry into people’s homes to conduct illegal searches, seizures, and ultimately arrests. The story has been picked up by the Washington Post. So far I haven’t seen any other local reporting about this practice, which…

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A Tip Stops a Car: Navarette v. California

When can a tipster’s anonymous tip allow police to stop a car? It used to be that an anonymous tip was never enough. That police had to have some reason to think that the tipster was reliable, even if police did not know the exact identity of the tipster. A California Highway Patrol officer stopped…

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Can Officers Draw Blood in DWI cases?

If you’re stopped in a DWI, can an officer draw your blood even without your consent? What protections do you have against a warrantless blood draw in a DWI case? In North Carolina (and most states), your refusal to submit to an Intox EC/IR II breathalyzer test will result in what’s called a “refusal.” That…

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Stopping a Car – Are you Nervous?

Many Driving While Impaired offenses turn on the question of whether the police had the constitutional power to stop the car. That’s because once the car is stopped, most people make all kinds of admissions and display all kinds of clues that indicate that they may be impaired. Once those field sobriety tests are conducted,…

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North Carolina Checkpoint Law

As the holiday season approaches, drivers should plan to expect checkpoints. Checkpoints are increasingly common features of law enforcement strategy and are governed by particular rules. Federal money subsidizes the use of checkpoints through state programs such as the Governor’s Highway Safety Program The general rule is that checkpoints may not be established for general…

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Drawing Blood in a DWI Hospital Case

Shea Denning at the School of Government’s Criminal Law Blog has an interesting post on whether medical professionals can be compelled to draw blood by threat of criminal prosecution. NCGS 20-139.1 establishes the various ways that police can collect a chemical analysis from someone charged in an impaired driving offense. It requires medical professionals –…

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Writs of Assistance: The Odor of Marijuana

The Fourth Amendment reads: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things…

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Blood and Raleigh DWI Cases

When someone is arrested in North Carolina for a DWI, the state typically will require that the person undergo a chemical analysis. This analysis most often requires the person to blow into a machine called the Intox EC/IR II, a machine manufactured by Intoximeters, Inc. If the person refuses to blow or the person is…

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Reasonable Suspicion, DWIs, and Speeding

Reasonable suspicion is the standard by which an officer can effect a stop of a vehicle. It is the lowest standard in the criminal system. Reasonable suspicion requires that “[t]he stop… be based on specific and articulable facts, as well as the rational inferences from those facts, as viewed through the eyes of a reasonable,…

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