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The 4th: In the car of another

What happens when an individual is driving a rental vehicle, and they are not on the rental contract? The U.S. Supreme Court recently held that the mere fact that someone is driving a rental vehicle and they are not on the rental contract, does not automatically mean they do not have standing.[1]

While the Court did not outline a clear test, it appears that a court should first determine if the individual has permission to use the vehicle from the person who is actually on the contract. And second, the court should use similar factors that are used when someone is in the home of another (see chapter above).[2]

Case Law

“Those cases support the proposition, and the Court now holds, that the mere fact that a driver in lawful possession or control of a rental car is not listed on the rental agreement will not defeat his or her otherwise reasonable expectation of privacy. The Court leaves for remand two of the Government's arguments: that one who intentionally uses a third party to procure a rental car by a fraudulent scheme for the purpose of committing a crime is no better situated than a car thief; and that probable cause justified the search in any event. The Court of Appeals has discretion as to the order in which these questions are best addressed.”

Byrd v. United States, 138 S. Ct. 1518, 1531 (2018)

[1] Byrd v. United States, 138 S. Ct. 1518, 1531 (2018)

[2] Id.


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