Maryland v. Pringle

United States Supreme Court
540 U.S. 366 (2003)


A Baltimore County Police Officer pulled a car over for speeding. Inside the car was owner Partlow in the driver’s seat, Pringle (defendant) in the front passenger seat, and Smith in the back seat. The officer saw a roll of money in the glove compartment when Partlow opened it to get his registration. Partlow denied he had any weapons or drugs in the car and agreed to a search. The officer found $763 in the glove compartment and cocaine between the back-seat armrest and the back seat. When all three men claimed ignorance of the drugs and money, the officer arrested all of them. Pringle later waived his Miranda rights and confessed that the money and drugs were his. At trial, Pringle moved to suppress the confession on the grounds that it was the fruit of an illegal arrest. The trial court denied the motion, and Pringle was convicted by a jury on charges of cocaine possession with intent to distribute. Pringle was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment without parole. The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland upheld the conviction, but a divided Court of Appeals of Maryland reversed. The court held that finding the drugs in the car did not give the officer probable cause to arrest Pringle because he had no indication that Pringle had knowledge, dominion, or control of the drugs.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is for members only. To access this section, please login or give Quimbee a try, it's free to get started.


The issue section is for members only and includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question. To access this section, please login or give Quimbee a try, it's free to get started.

Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, C.J.)

The holding and reasoning section is for members only and includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, please login or give Quimbee a try, it's free to get started.

Here's why 10,000 law students rely on our case briefs:

  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners not other law students.
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet.
  • 7,548 briefs - keyed to 85 casebooks.
  • Uniform format for every case brief.
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language.
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions.
  • Ability to tag case briefs in an outlining tool.
  • Top-notch customer support.
Start Your Free Trial Now