Courts Rule Chalking Tires to Enforce Parking Laws Violates 4th Amendment

Posted by Raymond Kimble | Apr 24, 2019 | 0 Comments

On some occasions, decisions that affect important rights grown from the most trivial matters.  For instance, the United States Court of Appeals recently extended the 4th Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures to situations where parking enforcement officers use chalk to mark the tires of vehicles to determine whether they have exceeded the time limit for parking in a particular location.

The 4th Amendment:

The 4th Amendment is designed to safeguard the privacy and security of people against arbitrary invasions by the police.  It specifically states that "people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures."  4th Amendment violations occur when police conduct constitutes a "search" and the search is found to be "unreasonable."

What is a Search?

A search which results in potential 4th Amendment protections occurs when police invade an area in which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy such as their house, office, car or storage area.  A search can also occur in situations where police physically intrude upon a constitutionally protected area in order to obtain information.  Examples of such a physical intrusion may include situations where police place a GPS tracking device on a persons car or plant a listening device on a phone or within a residence.

Chalking tires was recently determined to be a search that is protected by the 4th Amendment.  This is because the act of placing chalk on a vehicle's tires constitutes a trespass or physical intrusion on a constitutionally protected item, the car.  Further, the reason behind the intrusion by police is to obtain information concerning a potential violation of parking laws.

The Reasonableness of Police Conduct

Once a search is determined to have occurred, it can only be in violation of the 4th Amendment if the police conduct is found to be unreasonable.  The basic rule is that unless there is a specifically defines exception, searches conducted without a warrant are per se "unreasonable."  An exception to the warrant requirement exists when police search an automobile when they have probable cause to believe the vehicle contains evidence of a crime.  However, with respect to chalking tires, police generally go on a fishing expedition and search vehicles that are legally parked.  When police chalk tires of vehicles which are legally parked, there is no probable cause or even a scintilla of suspicion that they are violating the law.  Consequently, the act of chalking tires by police is unreasonable.

Sometimes, police attempt to justify 4th Amendment violations by arguing that their actions are for the purpose of preventing an injury or an ongoing harm to the community. This is commonly referred to as the "community caretaker" exception to the warrant requirement.  Of course, chalking tires does not fall within the community caretaker exception as the length of time a vehicle remains parked in a designated spot does not amount to a public safety issue or expose the public to any ongoing harm.

Often people are arrested, charged with a crime and prosecuted based on evidence police recover during a search of their homes, offices, vehicles, storage units, etc.  With the advent of technology, police also employ tracking devices on vehicles, use wiretaps to monitor phone conversations and attempt to determine a suspects whereabouts by tracking their cell phone locations.  Of course, all of these practices constitute searches under the 4th Amendment and must be closely examined to determine whether challenges to the admissibility of potentially important evidence can be made.  For that reason, it is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney that can recognize these issues and present the most effective defense to criminal charges.

Call (480) 833-8613 for Immediate Help in Defending Criminal Charges

If you have been charged with a crime in Arizona, contact my office at (480) 833-8613  for a free and immediate consultation.  I have represented thousands of individuals during the last twenty years who have been charged with offenses ranging from DUI and drug offenses to aggravated assault and homicide.  I have also conducted a number of jury trials in the city, justice and superior courts throughout Maricopa and Pinal Counties and regularly appear in Maricopa County Superior Court as well as the justice courts and city courts in Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Tempe, Glendale,  Surprise and Chandler.





About the Author

Raymond Kimble

About Raymond Kimble Attorney Raymond Kimble has built his law practice on the philosophy that each client deserves consistent individual attention. Ray realizes that being charged with a DUI or criminal offense is one of the most stressful events in a person's life. A DUI, felony or misdemeanor arrest can involve prison or jail time, probation, huge fines and a criminal record. Consequently, people who face DUI, felony or misdemeanor charges in Arizona are placed at risk of losing employment or being barred from future job opportunities. Ray works to lessen his client's anxiety by ensuring that they have direct access to him at all times and can reach him by e-mail, cell phone or text during normal business hours as well as nights or weekends if they have a pressing question or concern. Raymond Kimble is a dedicated DUI and criminal defense lawyer who has built a reputation of working tirelessly to protect his client's constitutional rights, their future and liberty. Ray strives to provide the strongest defense possible for each client despite the obstacles they may face. Put Experience to Work for You Raymond Kimble's twenty years of experience with respect to DUI, misdemeanor and felony criminal charges extends well beyond law school where he graduated within the top ten percent of his class. Ray was a police officer for ten years prior to becoming an attorney. As a police officer, Ray was trained in both DUI and criminal investigation and his personal involvement in criminal cases while a police officer certainly gives him a unique perspective when reviewing police reports, interviewing witnesses and challenging physical evidence. Ray often identifies legal issues or mistakes made by police during an investigation through his own personal experience as a patrol officer. In addition to his police experience, Raymond Kimble worked as a prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office where he was responsible for prosecuting DUI, felony and misdemeanor crimes. During his tenure as a prosecutor, Ray conducted a number of jury trials and hearings related to the admissibility of evidence. Through his involvement with these cases as a prosecutor, Ray learned how to properly evaluate the strength and weaknesses of a DUI, misdemeanor or felony charge and became skilled in jury selection, argument, and the direct and cross examination of both civilian witnesses, experts and police officers. Of course, Raymond Kimble's expertise extends beyond his experience as a police officer and prosecutor. Specifically, Ray has successfully represented thousands of people during the last fifteen years throughout Maricopa County, Arizona. To best serve his Clients, Raymond remains current on changes in the law as well as police tactics by regularly attending seminars focused on defending criminal charges and reading the latest articles and books related to DUI and criminal defense. Ray also regularly writes criminal defense blogs and posts so that people faced with a criminal charge are better informed about their rights.


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