Carol A. Chase

Document Type



The automobile exception to the search warrant requirement originated in 1924, when obtaining a search warrant was a lengthy and involved process. Today, federally and in a growing number of states, search warrants can be obtained by telephone or facsimile in a matter of minutes. Yet the automobile exception, originally based upon the exigency presented by the mobility of the automobile, remains intact and was recently extended to permit the warrantless search of property belonging to passengers in automobiles. This article critically examines the development of the automobile exception and calls for a reform of that exception in light of changing technology and procedural requirements.