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California v. Carney


From a legal perspective, the Carney case was remarkable for its decisiveness. The majority of the Court placed motor mobile homes in the same legal category as passenger vehicles, giving them minimal protection from warrantless searches. As a result of the holding, a law enforcement officer may, without a search warrant, enter and search a mobile home. However, the officer must have probable cause to believe that the home contains evidence of a crime or a suspected criminal.

The Carney ruling put motor homes outside the protections offered by Payton v. New York. In that case, the Court held that police must have a warrant to enter a dwelling to make a routine felony arrest. Thus, if a person living in a camper or motor home is wanted for a felony, the police may enter the abode at will.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988California v. Carney - Is It A Car Or A Home?, It Is A Car, It Is A Home