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Name: U. S. v. Delgado
Case #: 07-50238
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 10/07/2008

A warrantless search of a commercial truck is justified under the regulatory scope of an administrative search because commercial trucking is a pervasively regulated industry. Administrative searches of closely regulated industries are excepted from the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of searches without probable cause executed pursuant to a valid search warrant. This is because the federal regulatory presence is sufficiently comprehensive and defined, such that the owner of the property in question is on notice that he will be subject to periodic searches for specific purposes. Commercial trucking has been found to be such an industry. It is subject to extensive regulation by both the federal and many state governments. Further, the transitory nature of the industry, i.e., passing quickly from one state to the next, justifies the need for warrantless stops and inspections. Here, the Missouri commercial vehicle officer testified that, to the best of his knowledge, he had never stopped appellant’s vehicle before, so he stopped it to do an inspection. The subsequent searched revealed the presence of numerous packages of cocaine. The court held that under the administrative search exception, the stop and search were justified.