In Collins v. Virginia, the Supreme Court will decide whether police need a warrant to search a motor vehicle close to a person’s home. The justices will try to balance powerful Fourth Amendment pressures on both sides—the traditionally strong protection of privacy interests at a person’s home weighted against the traditionally low protection for privacy interests in automobiles.
The Fourth Amendment generally requires police to obtain a warrant before conducting a search of persons or property. The core of the Fourth Amendment protection is the home. A warrant is presumptively required for police to search a home. This protection also extends to the immediate area surrounding one’s home, known as the “curtilage.” The curtilage is considered part of the home itself for Fourth Amendment purposes. A warrantless search within the curtilage, therefore, is also presumptively unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.
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