Live and Let Drive: The Struggle for Unauthorized Drivers of Rental Cars in Attaining Standing to Challenge Fourth Amendment Searches

This Note analyzes the current circuit split regarding standing for unauthorized drivers of rental vehicles to challenge Fourth Amendment searches. Courts have adopted three different approaches to determine such standing. Some cir-cuits apply a bright-line rule that denies standing to any unauthorized driver. Other circuits utilize a modified bright-line approach that focuses on whether the renter granted the unauthorized driver permission to drive the vehicle. Finally, other circuits implement a totality-of-the-circumstances approach, considering a variety of factors regarding the driver’s relationship with the renter and the rental company.This Note addresses the increasing relevance and use of rental vehicles in today’s society, as well as the law relating to Fourth Amendment standing. After conducting a thorough analysis of each approach to standing for unauthorized rental vehicle drivers, the author critiques each approach, examining the merits and shortcomings of each rule. Finally, the author advocates for a new approach that will provide more consistent results and afford an unauthorized driver the opportunity to demonstrate a legitimate expectation of privacy in the vehicle.

The full text of this Note is available to download as a PDF.