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Old 07-02-2005, 10:16 AM   #1
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sKOOLie search and seizure - "mobile home" legalit

hey all -

i got mobile home plates for my skoolie and was wondering if anyone knew of a good web site where i could research the legalities of what a law enforcement office can and *cannot* do in regards to searching the vehicle (home).

does there need to be a physical barrier between the driver and the "back"?

does searching the skoolie require a search warrant? or can they just walk right in like it was the back seat of an oldsmobile?

any help, especially, regarding the "mobile home" license plate issue, would be happily welcomed.

thanks!
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Old 07-02-2005, 08:12 PM   #2
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mobile home plates for a skoolie?? I have not heard of that option. What state are you in? Or do you have Motorhome/RV plates?

the next question is what do you have in your vehicle that you don't want the police to see??

as far as automobiles, i don't think the police can search your car during a traffic stop without probable cause, but this may vary from state to state.
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Old 07-03-2005, 03:49 AM   #3
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This varies from state to state as Lapeer20m states, however, generally, the law regarding searches and warrants are the same for autos and homes so there's no correct answer to the question that you asked. You may wish, however to bone up on search and seizure laws in general if you think that this may affect you somehow and judging from the post this is not actually a 4th amendment question, but more of a practical concern to you.

The main difference between autos and homes is in the application of the law, particularly relating to the 'plain view' aspect. A policeman can search your home OR car if he finds illegal items in 'plain view'. In other words if a cop knocks on your door and when you open the door he sees a bale of pot in the front room or the kids stting around the Christmas tree singing carols and smoking crack he can waltz right on in, likewise if you get stopped for speeding and he sees a crack pipe on your car seat he can then proceed to search your car as these illegal items were in 'plain view' and provide probable cause. Otherwise a warrant is needed in auto or home, doesn't matter which it is. By the bye, the same standard is used for probable cause as is used to issue a warrant. If the evidence that the police officer used to establish probable cause would not have resulted in a warrant being issued if applied for, the the probable cause is invalid and the evidence siezed is eligible for suppression.

It just seems different for the autos and homes because it seems that more people drive around with broken taillights getting stoned than open the door to a cop while the wife and kids are sitting around a cozy fire shooting smack.

So while it seems that cops are free to search your car at will, they're actually not, at least from a 4th amendment point of view, while from a practical point of view, if they ask to search, they want to search and they will search, be it your home, car or whatever. THe only difference between saying yes or no when they ask is how long you're going to have to wait beside the road for the drug/bomb sniffing dog. Keep your lawyer's and probation/parole officer's numbers handy and you can make good use of this otherwise wasted time.

To answer your question more directly, it doesn't matter which end of the bus you put your stash in.

You may get a better response by posting your question to a more appropriate board, as this board concerns skoolies. Your question was about search and seizure law and actually had nothing to do with a bus.

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Old 07-03-2005, 03:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wtd
Your question was about search and seizure law and actually had nothing to do with a bus.
Geeze! take it easy on the guy. I think it was an apropriate question for this forum....especially since this is the "everything else" thread. The question was vey much related to his skoolie.
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Old 07-03-2005, 06:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lapeer20m
mobile home plates for a skoolie?? I have not heard of that option. What state are you in? Or do you have Motorhome/RV plates?
Maine - I would guess they are Motorhome/RV plates. The actual plates say "MOTOR HOME" on them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lapeer20m
the next question is what do you have in your vehicle that you don't want the police to see??
Lots of dirty underwear, a bunch of smelly trash and a black water tank.

My question stems more from an issue of time. I wouldn't mind showing anyone my skoolie, police officer or not, when it's convenient. When you're on the road, though, you're usually trying to get somewhere, you know? By knowing the general protocol and law, we all knows what is reasonable and not. That's all.
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Old 07-03-2005, 06:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wtd
judging from the post this is not actually a 4th amendment question, but more of a practical concern to you.
Precisely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wtd
You may get a better response by posting your question to a more appropriate board, as this board concerns skoolies. Your question was about search and seizure law and actually had nothing to do with a bus.
Yeah, I guess my question was mostly if school bus motor homes (sometimes referred to as skoolies) are considered a home or a vehicle because I thought laws were different for these two legal definitions.

Thanks for your reply - I appreciate your advice.
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Old 07-03-2005, 06:22 PM   #7
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Re: sKOOLie search and seizure - "mobile home" leg

Quote:
Originally Posted by skoolie_grease
does there need to be a physical barrier between the driver and the "back"?
This question stems from a comment I heard that the back of a limosine, where the passengers sit, because it is divided from the drive by a physical barrier (window and sliding board), it is legally considered a trunk and requires a search warrant or probable cause to search.

Thus, I would imagine the same is true for a skoolie, rv or any other type of vehicle. Just curious if anyone else had heard this or knew more.

I appreciate the thoughts! Thanks!!
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Old 07-03-2005, 07:29 PM   #8
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The legal reasoning is sound (IMHO). About the back of a limo being a trunk...you can't carry passengers in a trunk. I have seen some law (SC) that allowed alcohol to be served in the rear of the vehicle if there were a permanent physical barrier between the front and rear; however, this was many years ago, and I doubt it still survives.

One thing folks may want to watch out for is "open container" laws. That nice wet-bar you built over the wheel wells....better not have the seal broken on any of those liquor bottles! It might be legal to transport open containers in a locked enclosure; however, that would be a state law issue, and you'd have to consult the laws of the states that you are driving in or through.

The other thing is the inevitable "Do you have any illegal drugs or weapons in the vehicle" question. I've always been unclear about that question. Does it mean "illegal drugs" or "ANY weapons", or does it mean "illegal drugs" or "ILLEGAL weapons"? My interpretation is the latter. Either way, my answer would be "no", but I would mention, "I have some kitchen knives in the galley and a machete in the tool locker", or something like that.

I don't drink or do drugs (not because I'm opposed to it, but because I can't afford to - or afford the risks - in many ways), so I'm not really worried about anyone searching my vehicle and finding anything, but I don't want to get stopped every thirty miles because somebody thinks my bus looks like it might be "up to something". That's why I went with the plain Jane paint job. If I wanted a cop magnet, I'd have bought a red 'vette!

If I ever do get stopped (probably when, not if), my notion is to invite the cop in out of the weather and give him a guided tour. He doesn't have to ask to search, I appear compliant and not afraid of letting anybody see in my bus: I probably get to go on my way with a warning for a tail light out or something (with a 50 mph top-end on flat ground, it ain't gonna be a speeding ticket - ).
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Old 07-03-2005, 09:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric von Kleist
The legal reasoning is sound (IMHO). About the back of a limo being a trunk...you can't carry passengers in a trunk. I have seen some law (SC) that allowed alcohol to be served in the rear of the vehicle if there were a permanent physical barrier between the front and rear; however, this was many years ago, and I doubt it still survives.
That is the law in Iowa and it should be in every state otherwise you would not be able to have alchohol in a limo.
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Old 07-03-2005, 09:21 PM   #10
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it's legal in michigan to have alcohol inside a motorhome as long as it's in the passenger compartment. It's never been an issue for me, but i don't drink or do any drugs.

I also don't get hassled by the cops very often either, and my bus looks pretty wild on the outside
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Old 07-03-2005, 09:44 PM   #11
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As a bus/limo driver, this is my take: Open containers are legal on my bus or sedan IF...

None are in the "driver's area" (cab on a bus, front seat in a livery car).
Driver is sober.
Car is hired.

In an RV, it's legal in most states in the "house" area, not the "cab" area.

I don't pay much attention to those laws regarding my conversion, since I don't drink.
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Old 07-03-2005, 10:39 PM   #12
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In class A motorhomes, which our buses would be a part of there is never a physical division between the house and cab areas. Is this okay?
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Old 07-13-2005, 11:29 AM   #13
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I guess "lunging distance" depends on whether the driver is a pro basketball center or a triple crown jockey, or if officer UN-friendly has not reached his quota?
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Old 07-15-2005, 08:16 PM   #14
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I don't know many of the laws though it seems that when Joe blow cop or any other official type wants to do anything they find a way to do it. They regularly do DUI checkpoints and they have no probably cause but you still have to stop and play the game. I am not a big drinker and I never drink and drive but it is still a hassle to have to stop and prove my innocence along with everybody else.
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Old 07-17-2005, 10:14 PM   #15
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Search & Seizure

Hey schoolie grease , If you are so concerned with search and seizure on and in your bus why not talk to an attorney in your area regarding search and seizure laws . The opinion of a bunch of bus nuts does not constitute the law as it is written and practiced locally . Be informed from a legitiment source. It is none of my business why you are so concerned with search and seizure laws but this is a bus conversion format not a format concerning how to get away with concealing illegal items in your bus. There are rules out there, if you follow the rules you have nothing to worry about. If on the other hand you do the crime be prepared to do the time : .

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Old 01-05-2006, 12:51 AM   #16
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A skoolie will be treated the same as a car for search and seizure purposes due to the inherent flight risk of a vehicle while a warrant is obtained.

So in other words, the police have more leeway with a skoolie than with a fixed home.

That is directly out of my textbook.
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Old 01-09-2006, 01:49 PM   #17
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Actually, any vehicle used as a residence (r/v, semi tractor with sleeper, bus, etc...) is considered just that, a residence. It is given the same rights with regard to searches as anyone else's home. It is not like a car, other than the driving compartment. A Police Officer needs probable cause, consent, the nose of a K-9 or a warrant to search the living area. Semi tractors only have a curtain between the cab and sleeper so a barrier is not a "must", but keep in mind that I (as a Law Enforcement Officer) can step into the cab area during a traffic stop and anything in plain site is fair game. If it's your living area you have an expectation of privacy, just like someone who lives in a house or apartment. That is as clear and difinitive answer as I can give you.
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Old 01-09-2006, 01:58 PM   #18
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It'd be a real good idea not to transport anything illegal. Then you can't have a problem.

Not always practical advice, I know, but for the most part...get a friend to hold the stash and follow you!

I once got busted for transporting young gulls across staid lions for immoral porpoises...
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Old 01-09-2006, 04:42 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric von Kleist
I once got busted for transporting young gulls across staid lions for immoral porpoises...
O-O-O-O-O-O-O-W-W-W-W :P . . .Don't get me started, Eric!
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Old 01-23-2006, 04:04 PM   #20
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bottom line

Really all you have to remember is to follow the tried and true guidlines.

First, if you get pulled over, you are probably going to get a ticket, just accept it, follow the expected procedure and take it like an adult.

Second, keep your stash out of sight, and don't drive stoned, you may not smell it, but THEY will.

third, Don't give them a reason to ask for a search, in dress, manner, or attitude.

Finally, if you don't protest, and don't give them a reason to bring in the dogs, and you hide your stash well, you can feel comfortable in giving them the full tour, and then going about your business.
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