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H.224

`Introduced by Representatives Kiss of Burlington, Cross of Winooski, Kitzmiller of Montpelier, Marek of Newfane, McLaughlin of Royalton, Pillsbury of Brattleboro, Seibert of Norwich and Zuckerman of Burlington

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Motor vehicles; duty of enforcement officer to inform operator of right to refuse search

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to require enforcement officers to inform operators of their right to refuse to consent to searches of their vehicles.

AN ACT RELATING TO REQUIRING ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS TO INFORM OPERATORS OF THEIR RIGHT TO REFUSE TO CONSENT TO SEARCHES OF THEIR VEHICLES

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  23 V.S.A. § 1012 is amended to read:

§ 1012.  OBEDIENCE TO ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS; DUTY TO

              INFORM OPERATOR OF RIGHT TO REFUSE SEARCH

(a)(1)  A person, while operating or in charge of a motor vehicle shall, upon request by an enforcement officer who reasonably suspects that the person has committed or is committing a violation of this title, give his or her name and address and the name and address of the owner of the motor vehicle.

(2)  When an enforcement officer seeks consent from an operator or person in charge of a motor vehicle to conduct a search of a vehicle on a public highway, the officer shall provide the operator or person in charge of the vehicle with the following statement:

“I am asking you to agree to let me search your vehicle.  You have the right to refuse to agree to this search.  If you do refuse, I may search your vehicle anyway, but you may have the right to challenge the search later in court.  If you agree to let me conduct the search, you will probably lose your right to challenge the search later in court.  With this knowledge, will you agree to the search?”

(b)  The operator shall produce his or her operator's license and the registration certificate for the motor vehicle.  If the operator does not have a valid Vermont operator's license or does not have the license on his or her person, the operator shall produce other suitable forms of identification.  A person operating a motor vehicle shall promptly and carefully stop when signalled to stop by an enforcement officer wearing insignia which identifies the officer.

(c)  A person who violates subsection subdivision (a)(1) of this section shall be fined not more than $1,250.00.

(d)  A person who violates subsection (b) of this section shall be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $250.00.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us