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In Plain Sight

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  • In Plain Sight

    Long story short.

    A public safety officer got my friend peeing in a private parking lot. When the pso spoke to my friend he smelled alcohol on his breath. He asked my friend if he was drinking and my friend said yes. The pso saw a can of sparks inside the car. he asked my friend if the can was his and my friend said yes. The pso cited my friend for peeing in public and for possesion of alcohol. My other friend openned all the doors to the car and the pso looked inside. The pso saw a backpack with bottles inside it. The pso removed the bottles from the backpack. They told us to throw them away and leave. I felt that the pso was looking way too hard to get the rest of us on something.

    my question is.

    did the pso have the right to look inside the car, given the fact that my friend was outside the car peeing not drinking.

    can the pso remove the bottles out of the backpack and not cite anyone?

    what is "in plain sight" is it just a quick glance looking in the windows or doors ?
    or is it a full search of the car ?

  • #2
    From what I gather you are under age. If he saw one can of alcohol and had reason to believe possesion of it was a crime then the seizure/disposale was appropriate. What did you expect, for him to allow you or some other person he does not know to reach into a vehicle or bag with unknown contents or intent. You said they advised you to dispose of the alcohol, they did not do it. If you complied then it seems all they did was recommend something and you did it for them. We are not the protector of all of your rights. If you wish to ascert certain rights, it is on you to do so, I do not have to inform you of them and make my job more difficult unless a court has told me to do so.

    If it seemed like they were trying to put a case on you, there was obviously good reason for them to do so, since you were accompanying someone caught commiting a crime.They let you go with out charging you so they were obviously not trying all that hard to GET you, now were they, grow up.

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    • #3
      Where is the PSO from? Plain sight is anything I can see in the car by looking in through windows or open doors, If there is something illegal in plain sight I now have PC to search the rest of the car. As far as WAY TOO HARD, he very well could have done more. What Public Safety dept are you referring to? Makes a difference as Public Safety officers in CA are pretty much just security guards, unless it's USC public safety, then they are security guards that have POST Peace Officer training.
      Last edited by mtxpro752; 08-18-2008, 07:27 AM.
      Originally Posted by VegasMetro
      maybe it’s me but I think a six pack and midget porn makes for good times?????

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by JQL View Post
        did the pso have the right to look inside the car, given the fact that my friend was outside the car peeing not drinking.

        can the pso remove the bottles out of the backpack and not cite anyone?

        what is "in plain sight" is it just a quick glance looking in the windows or doors ?
        or is it a full search of the car ?
        Yes, yes, and "in plain sight" means: In plain sight. If he's standing where he legally has a right to stand anything he can see in plain sight is considered to be 'in plain sight'. We don't have to pretend not to see stuff to give bad guys a fair shot at breaking the law.

        It sounds like you got a big break. Be thankful for it and learn from it.

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        • #5
          These answers are all correct assuming he was under 21.

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          • #6
            The PSO was not a sworn police officer. as i understand the definition of in plain sight, they can look inside the vehicle. if they find something inside they can then do a search, right ? i guess a better question would be. what is considered a search? vs what is an officer seeing something in plain view? how intrusive can the officer get to find something in plain view. ie looking under the seats, etc.

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            • #7
              What are you calling a PSO? Is he from a private company or part of a govt. dept.

              Plain sight is just that, if I'm standing somewhere I have a legal right to be and see contraband that is plain sight. Anything else would be a search.

              Based on what you have written, if it was me (as a fully sworn officer) the search was good. He had you throw out the alcohol which is still good especially if your underage. Either way he saved you money by having you throw out the alcohol since you couldn't have open containers in a vehicle.
              Today's Quote:

              "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
              Albert Einstein

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JQL View Post
                The PSO was not a sworn police officer. as i understand the definition of in plain sight, they can look inside the vehicle. if they find something inside they can then do a search, right ? i guess a better question would be. what is considered a search? vs what is an officer seeing something in plain view? how intrusive can the officer get to find something in plain view. ie looking under the seats, etc.
                If it's more than grabbing something in plain sight it's considered a search, but there are a billion different valid reasons for them to search without a warrant. There was a Supreme Court ruling called the Carroll Doctrine that allows a police officer to search a vehicle with only probable cause (no warrant). If the officer found booze in plain sight he likely had probable cause to keep searching.
                Last edited by jakflak; 08-19-2008, 10:33 AM.

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                • #9
                  I would like to know what a PSO is and where you keep encountering them. IF it isn't a cop tell them to go pound sand and leave. Unless it's USC DPS and you are a student.
                  Originally Posted by VegasMetro
                  maybe it’s me but I think a six pack and midget porn makes for good times?????

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Some cities have Public Safety Officers (PSO) who undergo some standard of POST training. Although not Peace Officers, they do have the authority to issue cites for certain misdemeanors and Municipal Codes, tow vehicles, enforce curfews, take basic crime reports, dust for prints, etc. Some may have taser or pepper spray, but mostly unarmed. They generally supplement an existing police department in the city they work for.
                    LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO DRINK CHEAP BEER!

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