Someone called the police to report someone doing drugs in a vehicle on my property.

What right does the officer have to ask questions and search people and vehicles?

  • What country in this in? – Tim Lymington Jun 17 '19 at 16:49
  • Where is the vehicle in question on your property? Is it street parking, public lot parking (ala an apartment complex), private drive way parking(without a garage), or in the Garage? Should we assume that the police do not have a warrant when they knock on the door? – hszmv Jun 17 '19 at 17:00

Various cases heard by the US Supreme Court have established that an anonymous tip can indeed create reasonable grounds for probable cause, allowing the police to search and detain persons involved.

For example, the case of Navarette v. California where a suspect was stopped on the highway after an anonymous tip was given to police - the court ruled that the tip established reasonable grounds for probable cause which allowed the persons to be stopped in the first place.

The precedent set in that case would apply to the situation you are describing.

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  • "reasonable grounds for probable cause" is an odd and unusual phrase. Was it used in these cases? Most cases allowing searches simply say that there was probable cause, in my experience. – David Siegel Jun 10 '19 at 23:53
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    @DavidSiegel nope, just my phrasing. I meant it to mean that the anonymous tip creates a arguable case for probable cause existing which means acting on that probable cause is not unlawful, which that case basically upheld. – user4210 Jun 11 '19 at 1:07
  • @DavidSiegel I like you man and I don't mean this offensively, but that is kinda nitpicking. – Putvi Jun 11 '19 at 17:11
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    @Putvi If it is just a matter of phrasing, it doesn't matter. What I wasn't sure of was if this phrasing was intended to mean some standard other and less than probable cause itself, something more like the "reasonable suspicion" which is required for a Terry stop. I hadn't heard the phrase before, but it might have been a new standard that those cases had created, and if it was I wanted to know. That's why I asked. – David Siegel Jun 11 '19 at 17:47

He can't search your vehicle without some sort of probable cause, but he can come and investigate.

Probable cause could include a ton of things in certain situations and something that is probable cause in one instance could not be in another, but generally, when the office arrives, he has to observe something that would indicate a need to search for his safety or that would show a need to search because a crime was committed, in order to search.

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    I think the OP would like to know if the report gives probable cause – Dale M Jun 10 '19 at 22:09
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    The put that in your answer and explain (ideally with precedent) why a report from a member of the public does not create probable cause – Dale M Jun 10 '19 at 22:12
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    If it’s “what you mean” it should be in the answer - we are not mind readers – Dale M Jun 10 '19 at 22:14
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    Ok but unless you explain to the OP, who clearly doesn’t know, what probable cause is and isn’t it’s a poor answer – Dale M Jun 10 '19 at 22:19
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    @Putvi perhaps you need to actually read it, because it isnt as specific as you make out - the precedent set in that case would apply nicely to this one. We dont need a separate US Supreme Court case to make the same determination in other cases, the ruling made in that one applies much more broadly than a stop on the roadway. – user4210 Jun 10 '19 at 22:29

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