Court alters police rules for warrantless vehicle searches

Pennsylvania Headlines

A judge’s gavel is shown in a file photo. (Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court says police must have probable cause as well as “exigent circumstances” in order to legally search a vehicle without a warrant.

The divided court ruling Tuesday was based on an analysis that the state constitution’s privacy protections are greater than the U.S. Constitution’s.

The court overruled its own 2014 decision that probable cause alone was sufficient, given that vehicles are inherently mobile.

Four Democrats voted for the more rigorous search standard, while the court’s two Republicans and one Democrat dissented.

The dissenters argued the 2014 ruling should remain in place.

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