Virginia v. Moore

Facts of the Case

Rather than issuing the summons required by Virginia law, police arrested respondent Moore for the misdemeanor of driving on a suspended license. A search incident to the arrest yielded crack cocaine, and Moore was tried on drug charges. The trial court declined to suppress the evidence on


Does the Fourth Amendment require the suppression of evidence obtained incident to an arrest when the arrest violates a provision of state law?


The Court held unanimously that the search did not violate Moore’s constitutional rights. Writing for an eight justice majority (with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg concurring), Justice Antonin Scalia stated that the existence of probable cause gives an arresting officer the right to perform a reasonable search of the accused to ensure the officer’s safety and to safeguard evidence. States may impose stricter search and seizure requirements, Scalia wrote, but when states go above the Fourth Amendment minimum, the Constitution’s protections concerning search and seizure remain the same.

Case Information

  • Citation: 553 US 164 (2008)
  • Granted: Sep 25, 2007
  • Argued: Jan 14, 2008
  • Decided Apr 23, 2008