Course: Procedural Law
Maryland v. Wilson (1997) is a landmark United States Supreme Court case that dealt with the authority of police officers to conduct protective searches of passengers in a vehicle that has been lawfully stopped for a traffic violation.
The case clarified the ruling of the previous landmark case, Michigan v. Long (1983), which established the principle that police officers have the authority to conduct a protective search of the passenger compartment of a vehicle during a lawful traffic stop if the officers reasonably believe that the suspect is dangerous and may have access to weapons.
In Maryland v. Wilson, the Supreme Court specifically addressed the issue of whether this protective search authority extended to passengers in the vehicle rather than just the driver. The Court ultimately held that police officers do have the authority to conduct a protective search of passengers during a lawful traffic stop if the officers reasonably believe that the passengers may pose a danger to the officers or others.
The decision in Maryland v. Wilson clarified the legal framework for police officers conducting protective searches during traffic stops, ensuring that officers can take necessary precautions to protect their safety and the safety of others without violating the Fourth Amendment rights of individuals in the vehicle.
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Last Modified: 03/10/2023