In this archive episode, Dennis explains to ask for consent when dealing with closed and locked containers. Recorded on 08/15/2017.

US v. Ross 1982 Police officers who have legitimately stopped an automobile and who have probable cause to believe that contraband is concealed somewhere within it may conduct a warrantless search of the vehicle that is as thorough as a magistrate could authorize by warrant. Pp. 804-825.

(a) The “automobile exception” to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement established in Carroll v. United States, 267 U.S. 132 , applies to searches of vehicles that are supported by probable cause to believe that the vehicle contains contraband. In this class of cases, a search is not unreasonable if based on objective facts that would justify the issuance of a warrant, even though a warrant has not actually been obtained. Pp. 804-809.

(b) However, the rationale justifying the automobile exception does not apply so as to permit a warrantless search of any movable container that is believed to be carrying an illicit substance and that is found in a public place – even when the container is placed in a vehicle (not otherwise believed to be carrying contraband). United States v. Chadwick, 433 U.S. 1 ; Arkansas v. Sanders, 442 U.S. 753 . Pp. 809-814. [456 U.S. 798, 799]

(c) Where police officers have probable cause to search an entire vehicle, they may conduct a warrantless search of every part of the vehicle and its contents, including all containers and packages, that may conceal the object of the search. The scope of the search is not defined by the nature of the container in which the contraband is secreted. Rather, it is defined by the object of the search and the places in which there is probable cause to believe that it may be found. For example, probable cause to believe that undocumented aliens are being transported in a van will not justify a warrantless search of a suitcase. Pp. 817-824. Police officers who have legitimately stopped an automobile and who have probable cause to believe that contraband is concealed somewhere within it may conduct a warrantless search of the vehicle that is as thorough as a magistrate could authorize by warrant. http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/456/798.html