The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended the Constitution's privacy protection to include vehicles that are parked on a home's driveway or carport, ruling that police need a search warrant before they may inspect them.
In general, police may look closely at cars that are parked along public roads, without the need for a search warrant.
But in Tuesday's 8-1 ruling, the justices said a vehicle parked in a carport or on private property adjacent to a home deserves the privacy protection of the 4th Amendment.
"When a law enforcement officer physically intrudes" on private property and walks up to a house to look for evidence, "a search within the meaning of the 4th Amendment has occurred," wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor in Collins vs. Virginia. "Such conduct thus is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant."