Atwater v. Lago Vista

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Atwater v. Lago Vista
Court Supreme Court of the United States
Date decided April 24, 2001


In 1997, a soccer mom named Atwater was arrested in Texas. She was booked and held in jail for 1 hour for violating the state's seatbelt laws.

Atwater was pulled over in her pick-up truck. She and her children weren't wearing seatbelts. Additionally, Atwater didn't have her car insurance paper.

Procedural History

Atwater sued the city of Lago Vista, Texas, for violation of her 4th Amendment rights under the US Constitution.


Atwater was booked and had her mug shot taken. When she returned to the scene of the arrest, she discovered that her car had been impounded and towed.


Atwater argued that because the police officer could have only issued a citation with a fine, her arrest was an unreasonable search and seizure under the 4th Amendment.


A person can be arrested for a misdemeanor offense in the United States.


This is the "seatbelt arrest" case.