Law Writing Help

Collins vs. Virginia and the Fourth Amendment

Collins vs. Virginia and the Fourth Amendment

The fourth amendment shields people from irrational explorations and confiscations by law enforcement. Therefore, it ensures that the officers should have reasonable cause and warrant before they search for individuals. However, the fourth amendment protects these people solely against searches that are viewed as unreasonable under the law. The case was ruled under the automobile exception rule of the fourth amendment.

Collins vs. Virginia


Officer David Rhodes was investigating two traffic incidents, which involved orange and black motor vehicle. The officer discovered that the car was probably stolen and possessing Collins. The officer further found information on Collins’ Facebook page with the motorcycle parked in the driveway. Therefore, Officer Rhodes drove to Collins’ home and parked by the street. Collins could make out the shape of a motorcycle under a tarp in Collins’ compound, and without a warrant, he walked into the driveway, removed the tarp, and ran the vehicle’s license plates to discover it was the stolen one. Rhodes then went back to his car and waited for Collins and arrested him when he returned. Collins sought to have the case dismissed on the pulverized that the officer dishonored the fourth amendment. However, the Virginia Commonwealth Court denied the signal to overpower the proof. The court of appeals and the Supreme Court of Virginia affirmed the decision arguing that holding the search was justified under the automobile exception rule in the fourth amendment.

Personal Opinion

The evidence presented following the decision by the officer to walk into private property and search it without a warrant should not have held. Notably, the fourth amendment’s vehicle omission does not permit the warrantless entry into a personal property of its curtilage to search for a vehicle therein. Notably, the officer had acquired some information about the stolen motorcycle, especially from the Facebook account of Collins. Therefore, the officer should have gotten a warrant after receiving these details about the case.

The automobile exception holds an exception in unwarranted search and seizure presented by the fourth amendment. The exception insists that an officer can search a vehicle without a warrant if the contraband or evidence can be removed from the scene due to the machinery’s mobility. Failure to do so will jeopardize the case (Legal Information Institute, 2020). For instance, if a car is suspected of transporting drugs, it may be paramount to search it since the drugs may be transported and hidden in other regions. However, in the outlined case, the officer had the time to fill in the paperwork and acquire a warrant. The automobile was also hidden under a tarp, and thus, there was no risk of it being compromised.

Therefore, the case should have suppressed the information arising from unlawful searching. The officer failed to adhere to the fourth amendment and walked into a private home without a warrant. The law insists on the need to avoid warrantless search and seizure. The officer searched the enclosed top portion of the driveway, which constitutes an adjacent area to the home. The automobile exception only focuses on exploring within the vehicle. Therefore, it is unjustified to invade the curtilage. The exception does not extend the automobile itself. Thus, the officer’s decision to invade the curtilage fails to fall under the automobile exception rule.


Collins v. Virginia, 584 U.S. ___ (2018). (2018).

Legal Information Institute. (2020). Automobile Exception. Legal Information Institute.

Order Now