Is It Proper to place someone in jail for a seatbelt violation

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     States across the nation have seat belt laws in place that make it a requirement for drivers and passengers in vehicles that are being operated on public streets to wear some sort of safety belt. In 1998, 41,471 people were killed in 6,334,000 reported motor vehicle accidents in the United States. Seat belts are estimated to save 9,500 lives each year, and statistics show a higher degree of seat-belt use in states that aggressively enforce seat belt laws. The laws, as well as the punishments available for violation of the laws vary by state. In most states, however, it is considered a misdemeanor and punishable by a small fine. The properness of an arrest for such violations is a good question and has been …show more content…
     When trying to determine whether or not it is proper to put someone in jail for violating the seat belt law courts must examine the state’s statutes to determine whether or not an arrest could be deemed a violation of the citizens Fourth Amendment rights. The Fourth Amendment provides the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. Historically courts have evaluated these cases by first determining if probable cause existed to make the arrest. Next, they look at the reasonableness of the arrest, with reasonableness being measured as an objective standard, not by the arresting officers state of mind.
     In the case of Dunaway v. New York the court stated that the probable cause standard applies to all arrests, without the need to balance the interests and circumstances involved in a particular situation. In other words, if and officer arrests an individual whom he or she believes to have committed even a minor crime in his presence there has been no violation committed. The cases of both Whren v. United States and Dunaway v. New York
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