From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Newbie question about alcohol in a MH
Date: Tue, 16 May 2006 01:03:02 -0400
On Mon, 15 May 2006 20:03:18 -0400, "Steve Wolf" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>I'm always uncomfortable carrying my lone bottle of fireside beverage, be it
>wine or whiskey. Common sense tells me that tucking it under the drivers
>seat would invite a problem. The same would go for in the pocket behind the
>passenger's seat. That would be just plain stupid. Maybe it would be best
>to tuck it way back in a kitchen cabinet. Of course, the wife was just back
>there making coffee and popcorn. She had access to it. Maybe even under
>the motorhome in a compartment would be better. Nobody can get to it while
>motoring down the road.
So far the Supremes have continued to recognize the boundary between
the "passenger compartment" and the "house" for vehicles that contain
both. They've (flagrantly unconstitutionally, IMO) greatly eroded the
protections against warrantless searches in the passenger compartment
but not in the house.
This is mostly the result of cases involving commercial truckers and
searches of sleepers. As long as there is a clear line of demarcation
(a curtain, a wall and door, etc), the cop can't cross over without a
warrant. One case my lawyer told me about that made case law involved
a cop searching a trucker's sleeper as part of a road-side shakedown,
er, inspection and finding multiple log books. The case made it to
the Supremes where all the evidence found as the result of the illegal
search was tossed out.
Unfortunately the Supremes HAVE destroyed any 4th Amendment protection
of the driver's compartment of commercial vehicles, allowing the cops
to search at will. But they've drawn a (so far) solid line at the
demark between the driver's compartment and the "house". If it's
legal to have inside your bricks-and-mortar house then it's legal to
have in your mobile "house".
It gets quite murky if there isn't a clear demark between the
compartments. Some case law says that the driver's compartment ends
at the driver's reach but none of the cases have made it to the
Supremes yet. The easy solution to that is to make damned sure your
rig has a curtain separating the spaces and that they remain closed
The above comes from long discussions with my Stop'n'Rob defense
lawyer and more recently, my research into my exposure to the cops as
a commercial driver.