Chalking a Tire is a SEARCH!

In this case, the City of Saginaw utilized the common practice of “chalking” tires on parked cars to determine if they had exceeded the permissible time allowed for parking.  The plaintiff in this 42 USC §1983 civil suit had amassed 15 citations as a result of this practice and she sued arguing that the chalking of the tires was a warrantless search of the automobile under the Jones trespass-theory of a search.  The 6th Circuit agreed, ruling that the physical touch of the tire for the purpose of gathering information is a Jones search and that neither the Automobile exception nor the Community-Caretaker Exception applied.

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