Senate Bill No. 29
(By Senator Green)
[Introduced January 8, 2014; referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §62-1A-10 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to clarifying requirements for certain motor vehicle searches.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §62-1A-10 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 1A. SEARCH AND SEIZURE.
§62-1A-10. Motor vehicle searches.
(a) A law-enforcement officer who stops a motor vehicle for an alleged violation of a traffic misdemeanor law or ordinance may not search the vehicle unless he or she:
(1) Has probable cause or another lawful basis for the search;
(2) Obtains the written consent of the operator of the vehicle on a form that complies with section eleven of this article; or alternatively,
(3) Obtains the oral consent of the operator of the vehicle and ensures that the oral consent is evidenced by an audio recording that complies with section eleven of this article.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, should a form meeting the requirement of section eleven of this article or an audio recording device be unavailable a handwritten consent executed by the vehicle operator and meeting the consent requirements of section eleven of this article will suffice.
(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) or (b) of this section, should a court find that the officer had a reasonable suspicion of dangerousness to his or her safety which precluded recordation of the consent the recordation requirements of this section shall be found inapplicable.
(d) Failure to comply with the provisions of this section shall not, standing alone, constitute proof that any consent to search was involuntary.
(e) A finding by a court that the operator of a motor vehicle voluntarily and verbally consented to a search of the motor vehicle shall make the recordation requirements of this section inapplicable.
(f) Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to create a private cause of action.
(g) This section takes effect on January 1, 2011.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to clarify the requirements when a law-enforcement officer who stops a motor vehicle for an alleged violation of a traffic misdemeanor law or ordinance may search a motor vehicle.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.