Can Police Officer Arrest Driver If He Sees a Gun on the Floor of the Car ?
In People v. Murray, 137 Ill. 2d 382, 148 Ill. Dec. 7, 560 N.E.2d 309 (1990), the defendant was sitting in the driver's seat of a legally parked car. Murray, 137 Ill. 2d at 384.
A police officer knocked on the window of the vehicle and asked the defendant to exit and produce his identification. Murray, 137 Ill. 2d at 384.
The defendant stepped from the car and handed the officer his license. Murray, 137 Ill. 2d at 385.
However, he left the car door open when he stepped out, and the officer was able to observe a handgun on the floor of the car. Murray, 137 Ill. 2d at 385.
The officer confiscated the weapon and arrested the defendant. Murray, 137 Ill. 2d at 385.
In holding that the officer's initial encounter with the defendant did not amount to a seizure prior to the discovery of the weapon, the supreme court found it significant that there was no use of physical force or show of authority. Murray, 137 Ill. 2d at 390.
The court also noted that the officer requested rather than ordered the defendant to exit the vehicle and the fact that the defendant could have declined this request did not transform the consensual encounter into a seizure. Murray, 137 Ill. 2d at 393.