EPDM Coatings
rvupgradestore.com Composet Products Custom Yacht Interiors

Author Topic: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?  (Read 1173 times)

vito55

  • ---
  • Posts: 156
Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« on: September 07, 2017, 03:32:25 PM »
I know that law enforcement officials need a warrant to enter and search your home, but the rules are a lot less stringent for searching of your car or other vehicle. I'm wondering about an RV, whether it be a motorhome, travel trailer or pop up. If you are stopped for a traffic violation, I am assuming that without a specific reason unrelated to the traffic offense alleged, the officer would need a valid warrant to enter and search the RV. Although I literally have nothing to hide in my RV, I would not voluntarily consent to a search since it can not possibly be in my interest to allow a police officer to do so, but I still wonder if he/she could legally do so without a warrant by considering the RV a "vehicle".
Retired US Army; Honda Goldwing rider and former MSF Instructor, NRA Life Member

John From Detroit

  • ---
  • Posts: 19751
  • ^My New Home^
    • Diabetics Forum
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2017, 04:51:52 PM »
That is a good question and the answer may well depend on the officer.

Now one "interpretation" of the law I have heard. is that the police can only search the area accessible to the driver FROM THE DRIVER's SEAT.... Or by extension passengers from their seat(s).

BUT... the key word is interpretation. other places may interpret differently.

PLUS. Once they arrest you.... A full inventory prior to impound is needed.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 60784
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2017, 08:26:11 PM »
Very much a situational thing, I'm afraid, and the LEO's interpretation is also a major factor.

Parked in a campsite with engine off and jacks down, it's clearly a "home", in the same sense that a hotel room or apartment is, even if for just one night. The laws & courts are pretty clear on that. And when a motorhome is driving down the highway, it's definitely a motor vehicle, at least up to the driver cab area (as John noted). In between those extremes, lot's of gray area.

Trailers are even foggier, but in general an officer would need a darn good "probable cause" to go inside without a warrant, since it is not the vehicle you are driving and thus not generally subject to even casual perusal without a warrant. Even if you are stopped on the roadside or in a rest area. But again, lots of room for interpretation based on the conditions and events in each situation.

CAVEAT: I'm not a lawyer and have no expertise. I've read reports of various encounters between RVers and LEO and the above are my conclusions.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

TonyDtorch

  • ---
  • Posts: 2154
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2017, 09:30:13 PM »
Technically,  Your RV is being used on the roads as a vehicle,    and it's registered as a "Vehicle".....so it's probably going to be viewed by police as a "Vehicle".

  But if it's being used as your home,   hang a sign in the front windshild that says  "Our Home" ... I guess now it should be legal.   :)   

 
« Last Edit: September 07, 2017, 09:42:37 PM by TonyDtorch »

Tangled Hair

  • Posts: 3
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2017, 09:37:56 PM »
My understanding is also as Tony states, "Your RV is legally registered as a "Vehicle" and would be treated as such when you are pulled off the road.
 


04fxsts

  • ---
  • Posts: 20
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2017, 05:18:03 AM »
   I don't remember the name of the case right now but about three years ago the USSC ruled a routine traffic stop does not give the officer the right to detain you for a K-9 to be brought to the scene to search.  This assumes there is not some obvious illegal conduct that gives the officer a reason to search. 
   If an officer has obvious evidence, open container, bag of pot or handgun on the dash he will have reason to search and will do so.  However if for some reason an officer just wants to go on a "fishing expedition"  they will ask your permission.  If you say "no" that will be the end of it because if they have no explainable reason to search any illegal thing they find will be in-admissible in court.  If you say "yes" then they may do as they please and you have no recourse.  Jim.

wackymac

  • ---
  • Posts: 431
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2017, 06:26:38 AM »
Several years ago we were coming back in to the US from Canada and were stopped at the border.  The officer asked if he could come in and look around.  I said"yes" so he opens the door, walks up the steps and immediately turns to his left and opens the overhead cabinet above the dinette table.  A frying pan come falling out and crashes on the table.  He closed the cabinet door, turns around, says "thank you" and leaves.
2002 Fleetwood Fiesta 31H, 2001 F53 Ford chassis
2002 Toyota Tacoma Xtra Cab 2wd
2 cats:
10 year old red mackerel tabby with white, male, 26#,  leash trained--Rusty
10 year old black and white DLH, 14#, female--Penny
Home base---Ocala, FL

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 60784
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2017, 10:30:07 AM »
Even a "vehicle" isn't searchable unless you give permission or the officer obtains a warrant.  The gray areas and "home" vs "vehicle" come into play concerning laws and regs that treat those two differently, e.g. access to hand guns, possession of certain drugs, open alcohol, etc. The courts have pretty consistently ruled that the living portion of an RV is a "home" for those purposes, even on the highway. That's where wording like "accessible from the driver seat" comes into play. 

For example, you can have open alcohol containers in cabinets or fridge, and passengers behind the cab area of a motorhome can be actively imbibing. They are considered to be "At home". The driver [and probably the front seat passenger as well] do not have that liberty, because they are in the vehicle part. A gray area might occur if a motorhome has a front kitchen and the fridge is within reasonable reach of the front seat occupants. And that's just one simple example of how complex the situation can be.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 10:31:43 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

TonyDtorch

  • ---
  • Posts: 2154
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2017, 12:00:31 PM »
My shotgun has a trigger lock and it's in the bedroom. That's how I do it, but that may or may not be legal in the opinion of the cop.   Both the gun laws, and a motorhome laws are ambiguous,    and as some old southern cops like to say  "I am the law".   
I've argued with cops before, and I've had cops have tell me....You may beat the rap.... But you won't beat the ride.



As for having a gun,   Remember..  in an emergency situation where every second counts... the police are only minutes away. 

You almost never hear of drug crazed knife wielding homeless people living around state and federal campgrounds anymore.... 8)
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 04:05:29 PM by TonyDtorch »

Kevin Means

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 3789
    • Tactical Flying
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2017, 01:57:26 PM »
My wife (Cyndi) is a Deputy District Attorney, and she teaches Fourth Amendment issues (Search & Siezure) as part of her job. She even uses RV examples in her class. While I have sat through the training several times, and I'm pretty sure I know how she would answer this question, I'll let her answer it when she gets home tonight.

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

SargeW

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 6376
  • Life is better on the road!
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2017, 01:58:01 PM »
Vehicle searches the least amount of PC (probably cause) of any location due to it's mobility.  No warrant is required depending on what the PC is.  A simple traffic stop for a red light violation can be a full blown vehicle search if the PC is developed. 

Gary is right about being set up in an RV park though. Reasonable expectation of privacy exists, and is not dismissed just because the location has wheels.  Different states vary on the particulars, but in general if your vehicle is moving down the highway, your expectation of privacy is weak.

And in a vehicle there is something known as "wing span" search. An officer may visually search anyplace that is in immediate reach of the driver for officer safety.  Anything past that is up to the courts if it is reasonable or not.
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
Visit our new travel blog! http://www.mytripjournal.com/rvnchickTNG
Support your local Police Officer, Fire Fighter and Military!

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 60784
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2017, 03:41:11 PM »
It's the "probable cause" that makes the whole question one of interpretation.  SargeW's characterization of weak vs strong expectation of privacy is a good one, but that leaves a wide area of discretion. Heck, a law office can break down the front door of your castle if there is "probable cause", but the nature of probable cause is situational by definition. The officer has to make a snap judgment at the scene, while the courts discuss it at leisure later.

Will be very interested in what Kevin's wife has to say about it.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

marcortez

  • ---
  • Posts: 114
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2017, 04:10:15 PM »
As a retired LE officer from California......the LAST thing an officer wants to do is search an RV'ers unit for blowing a stop sign or any other minor traffic infraction.
If you're in a motorhome, you will have to open the exit doors to converse with that officer. Do so....the officer might or might not ask you to exit the MH. Willingly comply to this request.
On a routine traffic stop, there is ZERO probable cause to go further than what is at hand regarding the stop.

If empty whiskey bottles roll out, 9mm spent or live pistol rounds flip down the steps, pistol butts sticking out under the seat, blood soaked rags litter the floor, body parts stuffed into seat back pockets or cries of "help me" are heard from the rear area, the officer has ZERO need to go beyond asking for the normal docs.

Can he/she do it anyway?......yes sure, but anything found that is illegal and would subject you to immediate arrest would be found inadmissible in a court of law. No probable cause right?

There are thousands of road lawyers who revel in "I know my rights" banter with the police. Most often lose, one way or another, on the spot.
Do you have to be polite and nice?....no of course not. Do you have to obey an instruction from an officer, even if you feel it's not right?....yes you sure should.

For an example of this.......an officer asks you to step out of your vehicle (TV/MH) and you say "I don't have to".....immediately an alarm goes off in the officer's mind that something is very wrong.....so wrong as to cause him to react out of fear for his/her own safety.
If a driver refused to comply with a very reasonable request, which nearly any sane, reasonable and "normal" person would do without hesitation.... like to get out of the vehicle, what possibly more could be going on here flashes in his head.
This is where potential trouble rears it's ugly head.

The OP is perfectly correct in opting to refuse to have his/her RV searched and NO reasonable officer will push that.....minus any other "cause" outlined above and or others as the case may be.

2006 Dodge Ram 2500 CC 4x4 CTD
2017 Jayco Flight SLX Baja 245RLW

TonyDtorch

  • ---
  • Posts: 2154
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2017, 04:16:40 PM »
many officers regard the "refusal to search" as probable cause....so you're kinda screwed either way.

(unless you show him a retired LEO card)
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 04:18:44 PM by TonyDtorch »

marcortez

  • ---
  • Posts: 114
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2017, 04:20:20 PM »
many officers regard the "refusal to search" as probable cause....so you're kinda screwed either way.

Then that officer is wrong!!

More intense training is needed while cleaning out patrol cars for the next shift for 30 days.

« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 04:23:15 PM by marcortez »
2006 Dodge Ram 2500 CC 4x4 CTD
2017 Jayco Flight SLX Baja 245RLW

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 60784
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2017, 04:44:09 PM »
Thanks, marcortez, for the practical advice. We can all "road lawyer" till the cows come home, but practical explanations are the most useful when a topic is as subjective as this one.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

TonyDtorch

  • ---
  • Posts: 2154
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2017, 04:49:06 PM »
diplomacy is your only defense.   Cops are happy to remind you of who is in control of the situation.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 04:50:38 PM by TonyDtorch »

Gizmo

  • ---
  • Posts: 882
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2017, 04:56:13 PM »
Interesting topic, I too am interested to hear what Kevin's wife has to say.
Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
2017 Eagle Cap 1165 Truck Camper With Tork Lift Fast Gun Tie Downs & T.L. Wobble Stoppers
2015 Ram Big Horn 3500 CC Cummins TD Dually 3:73 Gears & AISIN Tranny
Gone But not forgotten:
2014 Northwoods Snow River 246RKS &
2013 Aliner Expedition

TonyDtorch

  • ---
  • Posts: 2154
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2017, 05:39:45 PM »
Then that officer is wrong!!

More intense training is needed while cleaning out patrol cars for the next shift for 30 days.

Cops have ways of dispersing street justice on uncooperative people, (IMO it's the futility of the job weighs on them)   They might not be able to make an arrest or even write a citation,   but they can still ruin your whole day.

Back in my younger days they would tear our cars apart looking for weed....and then drive away. 
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 05:50:15 PM by TonyDtorch »

Kevin Means

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 3789
    • Tactical Flying
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2017, 01:52:53 PM »
Sorry we couldn't respond until now. Everything in the following paragraphs is Cyndi's explanation. She wants to emphasize a couple of things... this is legal information, NOT legal advice. Also, this is general information, not necessarily applicable to all states or federal jurisdictions.

1. A search warrant is needed before searching a "residence." There are exceptions to this including, but not limited to, exigency, consent, checking the welfare of someone inside or a parole/probation waiver of 4th amendment rights.

2. Motorhomes, trailers, campers and popups may be considered "residences" requiring a search warrant, by the courts.

3. Factors determining if something is a residence include, but are not limited to - is someone actually "living" there? For example, are there plates, silverware, bedding, food, a fridge, stove, clothing, personal items - indications that the individual is using the RV for the activities associated with the privacy of the home? And, in the case of RVs, is there a clear indication that it is not simply being parked/stored? Does the individual occupying the RV have "standing" (can they claim 4th amendment rights there?) For example, do they own it, did they rent it, do they have the owner's permission?

4. To complicate matters, many jurisdictions consider motorhomes and campers to be "vehicles," and popups and trailers to be "residences," (for purposes of "residential burglary" - a more serious crime than "vehicular burglary.") Also, the Vehicle Codes in most jurisdictions consider motorhomes and campers to be "vehicles" when out on the road, whereas trailers, etc. are not, as they are not being "driven." With traffic stops, the courts may also consider the potential for loss of evidence, due to the "mobility" of RVs on the road. These distinctions might also be used by the courts in determining whether a particular type of RV is a "residence" or "vehicle," or whether a search warrant is needed, during a traffic stop.
 
5. Additionally, some "regulatory" law enforcement/agencies, such as Fish and Game, Border Patrol, Agricultural Inspectors, etc. often have the legal authority to stop and search without a search warrant.
 
6. Often, there are no "black and white" answers in the law. Different jurisdictions and/or judges, will frequently rule differently on the same issues, and the legality of any search will be determined by the courts.

7. Finally, in most jurisdictions, it is unlawful to resist even an unlawful search or arrest.

(This is Kev again) I hope this helps the OP and others. I knew, when I saw the questions, that there weren't going to be any black and white answers, and while that's unfortunate, it is what it is. Cyndi spent a lot of time trying to word her answers, so they'd be as clear as possible, but we're talking about the law, and as everyone knows, there's a LOT of ambiguity.

Kev
« Last Edit: September 09, 2017, 02:00:46 PM by Kevin Means »
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

SargeW

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 6376
  • Life is better on the road!
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #20 on: September 09, 2017, 02:07:06 PM »
And the rulings from Judge to Judge in the same building can be different. That's why I like the way she framed it as "legal information".   In most cases when dealing with a LEO, just going with the flow when asked to provide ID or step out of the vehicle will speed things along tremendously.  Digging your heels in and refusing simple requests will surly be a short cut to a long drawn out contact.
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
Visit our new travel blog! http://www.mytripjournal.com/rvnchickTNG
Support your local Police Officer, Fire Fighter and Military!

marcortez

  • ---
  • Posts: 114
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #21 on: September 09, 2017, 02:27:16 PM »
   In most cases when dealing with a LEO, just going with the flow when asked to provide ID or step out of the vehicle will speed things along tremendously.  Digging your heels in and refusing simple requests will surly be a short cut to a long drawn out contact.

Precisely......poking an officer in the eye with insults, slurs, parental heritage, upbringing, "deplorable", hick, hillbilly, jerk and other such degrading terms, will almost guarantee a more "thorough" examination, looking for the "not quite so obvious" or a "courtesy safety check", (which would have been overlooked in a normal course) infractions that can cost money and or time.

2006 Dodge Ram 2500 CC 4x4 CTD
2017 Jayco Flight SLX Baja 245RLW

Smokey613

  • ---
  • Posts: 8
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #22 on: September 09, 2017, 04:11:19 PM »
I started my LEO career in 1977 with the Harris County SO in Houston, Tx. I retired from another agency as a Lieutenant in 2005 and returned to the profession in 2015. I am currently a Deputy City Marshal. I said all that to preface MHO. The best advise I can give is to comply with all LEO request. Remain calm and polite. This will be in your favor later if there is an issue with the legality of the stop. The side of the road is not the place to physically resist. Voice your objections to document your belief that their actions are unwarranted. Trust me, you may eventually prevail in court but the "ride" will be much more enjoyable if you just comply. With all that being said, I would never give verbal consent to a search. Make them go through the steps required under the law. This will allow the possibility of any evidence obtain to be excluded in court due to an improper search. Again, this is MHO and as such is worth just what it's worth.

ClickHill

  • ---
  • Posts: 122
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #23 on: September 09, 2017, 09:06:01 PM »
Kevin,

Thank your honey for her time and expertise, I was waiting to read her reply.

As far as a warrant or no warrant for a search of anything (car, RV, home, my pockets or even my thoughts) my simple answer is always - No Poly, No statement, No waiver! That's what we have courts for not cops, but in no case resist because then your wrong.

Unfortunately the justice system is not very black and white and with almost every issue the answer is "it depends".

« Last Edit: September 10, 2017, 06:35:21 AM by ClickHill »
D & D
2015 Winnebago Itasca Merdian
2013 Chevy Equinox toad

Kevin Means

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 3789
    • Tactical Flying
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #24 on: September 10, 2017, 01:12:32 AM »
It's important to remember that, "this forum is a place to exchange ideas, obtain help and talk about anything related to RVs, RVing, the RVing lifestyle, activities conducted in conjunction with RVing and the hobbies and interests of RVers. These rules are provided for the purpose of making the RV Forum a friendly and informative experience for all members of the forum."

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

KandT

  • ---
  • Posts: 779
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #25 on: September 14, 2017, 04:09:18 AM »
Drive the speed limit, check your lights, give no reason to be stopped and be legal and courteous.  This should keep us out of the situation all together.

I was stopped once on a busy street - turned right on a red with a sign saying "no turn on red".  I said to the officer "I know you have to do what you have to do but why don't we pull into that parking lot so you aren't standing out in the street.  This isn't safe for you."  He said give me your license first.  I said "sure - I am not trying to run but this isn't safe". He said " Just get out of here".   I'll take it!  I think they are so use to people arguing and fighting this officer was taken aback by my concern for HIS safety.  How could you right someone a ticket that just expressed concern about you?

Didn't hurt that I had a preschooler in the backseat.
2005 Winnebago Vectra
American Car Dolly
2009 Accord Toad
It's not a problem.  It's a project!

JackL

  • ---
  • Posts: 551
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #26 on: September 14, 2017, 05:10:47 AM »
If it is your address, it is your home.

Jack L

NY_Dutch

  • ---
  • Posts: 3434
  • Following the warm weather!
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #27 on: September 14, 2017, 06:19:11 AM »
If it is your address, it is your home.

Jack L

So my home is my mail forwarder's building? Darn, I'll have ask if they have room service there... ;)
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

Dragginourbedaround

  • ---
  • Posts: 799
  • I look out the window and see trees, I'm camping
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #28 on: September 14, 2017, 10:56:31 AM »
A little off topic, but one of the most educational things I've ever done was a Ride Along with a police officer for a 4-12 shift. This was in a high crime city. If you ever really want to see what Law Enforcement have to go through try a Ride Along.
Gene

2013 Winnebago Adventurer 37F
2011 Honda Fit

NY_Dutch

  • ---
  • Posts: 3434
  • Following the warm weather!
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #29 on: September 14, 2017, 12:58:45 PM »
I agree a ride along can be very educational, but I guarantee while you're hoping to see some action, the LEO behind the wheel is hoping for a very boring shift... :)
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

rvanony

  • ---
  • Posts: 53
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #30 on: September 14, 2017, 01:18:46 PM »
I lived in a RV that was on my own property sitting on blocks without the wheels removed and I'm fairly certain it was considered a residence as I  paid property taxes which included improvements such a garage and trailer.

However I was told in order for the RV to be classified as an actual mobile home or home it would require a permanent foundation. I'm not certain of the definition of permanent foundation, as there are homes in the area built with cement block foundations, some use creosote logs with cement pads, date back to the 60's and earlier. This 44 foot RV with tires was mounted on cement blocks where the tires did not touch the ground. I installed a 240 service with panel into it, removing the exterior aluminum and rewiring the entire RV to code. It also had permanent water  and sewer lines.

However I also have stayed full time in RV parks. In one park at least the county and state classify an RV space as a camping spot and not a residence. As with most RV parks property on which the RVer's rent space is business property and the land and business owner pay business property tax.

The tenants may be considered to county residence however their RV is sitting on a space that's usually  considered to be for camping and not an actual  permanent residence such as a home or apartment. I know people who have been living in RV parks for more than 20 to 30+ years, but technically their renting a camping spot and can move any time they want after disconnecting from the utilities designed for RVs.

The utilities for each space are not permanent residence installation. There their for people who want to rent the space from a day to a month, similar to a motel.

As for searching a vehicle I'm not certain perhaps a grey area. If able to come up with reasons and laws you can't search a persons vehicle without a warrant then perhaps they may apply however the people staying month to month for years in a RV spot may also be considered to a residence of the county, I'm not certain perhaps another grey area for lawyers to   work out if a reason were to arise.

An apartment your renting the building and the land the building is sitting on as a permanent residence.  In a RV park your renting the space and it's utilities designed for mobile camping and I think technically (perhaps depends on the state and county) you're camping. However a warrant may be required to search a RV even though technically a person is camping, and as I said many full timers are residence of the county the park is in as they are registered to vote, their vehicles are licensed and registered at the RV parks street and address and often with their space number. Some have telephone service, most have cell service, pay for cable or satellite, have permanently installed lpg tanks that are regularly serviced, etc., for the address of the space their renting. Their RV spot may be a billing address, address for insurance, divers license, passport, etc. very similar or the same as a permanent residence.

So it may be difficult to say some RVer's are (temporary) campers living in a vehicle on wheels even though the space their renting may be technically classified as a camp site for RVs (vehicles) and not a permanent home or apartment. Perhaps they need to change the laws to reflect how long a person been renting a RV space while living in a RV as a permanent residence.

If your on the road,  you're definitely considered to be a vehicle.



 

« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 01:36:36 PM by rvanony »

NY_Dutch

  • ---
  • Posts: 3434
  • Following the warm weather!
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #31 on: September 14, 2017, 03:44:08 PM »
The terms "domicile", "residence", and "home" can have significantly different meanings. Like many fulltime RV'ers, we call our motorhome "home" and it is our "residence" no matter where it is at the time. But it is NOT our "domicile", the legal address we use for our mail, including vehicle licenses, registration and insurance, plus income taxes, voter registration, and other government documentation, as well as our financial dealings. Our domicile has been legally declared as being in the state we intend to return to when we're done traveling. Obviously a postal address does not necessarily indicate a "home". I'm pretty sure a lot of PO box holders would agree with that! ;)
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

rvanony

  • ---
  • Posts: 53
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #32 on: September 14, 2017, 06:48:34 PM »
I agree. I only feel at home when I actually own the property where I reside.

When renting I feel more like a subject of a  landlord, because complete ownership of a "domicile" is taken away as renters don't own  the land property and building structures where they reside. Have no deed and don't pay property tax, etc.  Having a deed  becomes a big deal as you become the owner of your domicile.

The term domicile is used in the English language in various way but I think is more often denotes ownership of a "permanent home"

A RV space space renter usually owns the RV but not the land or utilities and is subject to the rules of a RV Park and is governed and watched over by the park owner (landlord) or a person the landlord hires to watch over and run the park.

There are full timers  where the address of their RV space they're renting is their legal address used for credit cards, loans, financial accounts, vehicle licenses, passports. drivers licenses, voter registration, insurance, income taxes, and other licensing and government documentation. If they have a P.O. Box it's normally registered as a mailing and possibly a billing address. Some RV parks have USPS service where you mailed is delivered to the park office and you pickup you us mail at the office. While others don't and you would need to rent a p.o. box.

There are many businesses that only have only a P.O. Box address  registered as a business address and some state residences that have only a P.O. Box address. e.g. People who work as Seaman and travel the world never staying in a specific area often only have a government or private mail box as their official "residence" address while others may  own their home and actually have a  permanent "domicile" address.

I know of people their only  "domicile" is renting a space in RV park for more than 30 years. Seasonally each year they're working on a fishing boat in Alaska and travel back to the lower 48 every year to their  RV space. Usually get a storage rate when gone for the season.


« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 08:28:25 PM by rvanony »

NY_Dutch

  • ---
  • Posts: 3434
  • Following the warm weather!
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #33 on: September 14, 2017, 08:50:14 PM »
Our "domicile" address is our commercial mail forwarder assigned address. That's where we "live" for legal purposes. Our "residence" on the other hand, is located at whatever RV site we happen to parked at, and our "home" is the RV we park there. We do own a small vacation cottage in upstate NY, but it has no bearing on our "domicile", "residence" or "home" designations beyond those times when we park there and the property becomes our "residence" location for that period.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

rvanony

  • ---
  • Posts: 53
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #34 on: September 15, 2017, 12:21:38 AM »
Yeah I don't know. I grew up in an area without street numbers. Addresses for mail were rural route numbers. Lots of people were still connected to the 1800s. didn't really know anything about street numbers as an address.

Often didn't even know the rural route numbers, you were the family or person living  next to the big tree hundreds of years  old or some sort of land mark, pond, river, etc.


ConductorX

  • ---
  • Posts: 21
  • Skully Wood and Metal
    • Class A Adventures
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #35 on: September 15, 2017, 07:34:27 AM »
THANKS - Thanks to the LEOs for their service and input.   Thanks to Kevin's wife for her input.  I lived in Houston for six months after Katrina.  I traveled all over Houston on my motorcycle and my car and I observed the police were mainly concerned with keeping junk cars off the roads and keeping the traffic moving safely.

I purchased my RV in Key Largo Florida the day after labor day and drove it home.  State Trooper and local police were out in force to help people evacuate.  Not to hassle people or get in the way.  They were keeping the traffic flowing.  While the gas stations were a mess there was no arguing fighting or other incidents in the places I stopped.

I always cooperate with Law Enforcement.  I know they have a dirty job and put up with terrible people.  I don't want to add to the stress.  That being said I have not been stopped in years except at sobriety check points they set up from time to time.  Again IMHO

"CX"
ConductorX
2004 Thor Windsport 34W - Ford V-10 Gas
2006 Toyota Sienna - TOAD (Primary)
1974 VW Thing - TOAD (Secondary)

https://classaadventures.blogspot.com/

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 60784
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: Is an RV a "home" or a "vehicle" under the law?
« Reply #36 on: September 15, 2017, 10:40:22 AM »
The place where you happen to be residing at any moment is considered to be your private home for the purposes of your constitutional right to protection from unlawful search & seizure. Even if it is just a motel room. It has no relationship to your domicile (a different legal concept altogether), and your mailing address is just one potential indicator the status.

An interesting wrinkle is that the place you receive US Mail is always considered a part of your private "home", even if it is physically in a separate place. Whether a rural mailbox on the roadside or a box in a building elsewhere.  That means your actual mail box is private to you and that search warrant rules apply. The courts use a concept called "the expectation of privacy" to weigh the specifics (somebody already referred to this earlier in the topic).
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

 

Hosted by Over The Network