So I was riding in the car with The Cat Who Walks Alone, who will be 17 next month (she was driving). And she asked me if it was true that cops in Illinois can pull you over if they see that you don’t have your seatbelt on. And I said, “Yes, as I understand it, they can, plus they can pull you over if they see that you don’t have your kids restrained in proper child safety seats.” I told her that as I understand it, if they pull you over for a seatbelt violation, and they see that you’ve got, say, a gun on the seat next to you, or open liquor, they can bust you for that, as well as the seatbelts.
Then, she said that her history teacher told her this spring that the law against “unreasonable search and seizure” means that if they come into your house with a warrant, looking for something, and they find something else illegal, like marijuana plants growing in your basement, or a baggie of crack cocaine, that they can’t bust you for the “other” thing, only the thing they were looking for. I said, “Well, if they come in and find evidence of a crime, they can hardly just look the other way. It depends on what it is exactly that they see. If they see dismembered body parts while they’re looking for a meth lab, they’re hardly going to throw up their hands and say, ‘No can do, it ain’t mentioned in the warrant’. But cops and district attorneys vary in how hot they are to bust people for things like marijuana growing in the basement. So, it depends.”
But she was pretty sure that her history teacher had told them, “Nope, the cops aren’t allowed to bust you for the Other Thing at all,”, and that that would include not being able to bust you for, say, open liquor after being pulled over for seatbelts.
So, would someone like to clarify all this? I am embarrassed to admit that I don’t know, exactly.