Roadside Seizures: Legal Considerations is a class for patrol officers, supervisors, and administrators that focuses on constitutional law directly related to vehicle stops. Vehicle stops are seizures under the Fourth Amendment and the legal parameters for such seizures are governed by years of case law from the U.S. Supreme Court, the First Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Maine Supreme Judicial Law Court. Staying within the law is critical, both in terms of evidence suppression and civil liability. The training includes easy-to-understand explanations of the legal basis of what is allowed and not allowed in such seizures and ways to avoid the pitfalls that contribute to illegal stops or arrests.
1. Define categories of seizures under the Fourth Amendment.
2. Understand the meaning of “individualized” vehicle stops.
3. Understand the legal basis to support a vehicle stop.
4. Understanding of pretextual stops.
5. Understanding of what is allowed to maintain officer safety during a stop.
6. Permissible warrantless searches.
7. Importance of documenting the reason for the vehicle stop.
Brian MacMaster was a certified law enforcement officer in Maine from 1969-2022, retiring as the longtime Director of Investigations for the Office of the Attorney General. He served on the Board of Trustees of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy for 20 years, the last 15 as chair. With expertise in the practical application of Fourth Amendment law, he was a principal instructor at the Academy for over 45 years and served as an adjunct instructor at Southern Maine Community College and later at Husson University.