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There are, of course, exceptions to the general rule that a warrant must be secured before a search is undertaken; one is the so-called "automobile exception" at issue in this case. This exception to the warrant requirement was first set forth by the Court 60 years ago in Carroll v. United States, 267 U.S. 132 (1925). There, the Court recognized that the privacy interests in an automobile are constitutionally protected; however, it held that the ready mobility of the automobile justifies a lesser degree of protection of those interests. The Court rested this exception on a long-recognized distinction between stationary structures and vehicles [. . . ] The capacity to be "quickly moved" was clearly the basis of the holding in Carroll, and our cases have consistently recognized ready mobility as one of the principal bases of the automobile exception. See, e.g., Cooper v. California, 386 U.S. 58, 59 (1967); Chambers v. Maroney, 399 U.S. 42, 52 (1970); Cady v. Dombrowski, 413 U.S. 433, 442 (1973); Cardwell v. Lewis, 417 U.S. 583, 588 (1974); South Dakota v. Opperman, 428 U.S. 364, 367 (1976). [ . . . ] Besides the element of mobility, less rigorous warrant requirements govern because the expectation of privacy with respect to one's automobile is significantly less than that relating to one's home or office.
California v. Carney, 471 US 386 (1985)