Maryland v. Wilson, 519 U.S. 408, 4 (1997)

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Cite as: 519 U. S. 408 (1997)

Opinion of the Court

nervous. While the driver was sitting in the driver's seat looking for the rental papers, Hughes ordered Wilson out of the car.

When Wilson exited the car, a quantity of crack cocaine fell to the ground. Wilson was then arrested and charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Before trial, Wilson moved to suppress the evidence, arguing that Hughes' ordering him out of the car constituted an unreasonable seizure under the Fourth Amendment. The Circuit Court for Baltimore County agreed, and granted respondent's motion to suppress. On appeal, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland affirmed, 106 Md. App. 24, 664 A. 2d 1 (1995), ruling that Pennsylvania v. Mimms does not apply to passengers. The Court of Appeals of Maryland denied certiorari. 340 Md. 502, 667 A. 2d 342 (1995). We granted certiorari, 518 U. S. 1003 (1996), and now reverse.

In Mimms, we considered a traffic stop much like the one before us today. There, Mimms had been stopped for driving with an expired license plate, and the officer asked him to step out of his car. When Mimms did so, the officer noticed a bulge in his jacket that proved to be a .38-caliber revolver, whereupon Mimms was arrested for carrying a concealed deadly weapon. Mimms, like Wilson, urged the suppression of the evidence on the ground that the officer's ordering him out of the car was an unreasonable seizure, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, like the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, agreed.

We reversed, explaining that "[t]he touchstone of our analysis under the Fourth Amendment is always 'the reasonableness in all the circumstances of the particular governmental invasion of a citizen's personal security,' " 434 U. S., at 108- 109 (quoting Terry v. Ohio, 392 U. S. 1, 19 (1968)), and that reasonableness "depends 'on a balance between the public interest and the individual's right to personal security free from arbitrary interference by law officers,' " 434 U. S., at 109 (quoting United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U. S. 873,


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