Supreme Court upholds driver rights in rental case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court said Monday that people who borrow rental cars from friends or family are generally entitled to the same protections against police searches as the authorized driver.

The justices ruled unanimously that as a general rule someone who is “in otherwise lawful possession and control of a rental car” has a reasonable expectation of privacy in the car even if the rental agreement doesn’t list them as an authorized driver. That means that police can’t generally search the car unless they have a warrant or probable cause to believe a crime has been committed.

The Trump administration had argued that unauthorized drivers had no reasonable expectation of privacy in a borrowed car. That would mean that police who pulled over a rental car with an unauthorized driver could search the car without the person’s consent. The Supreme Court rejected that view.

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