In United States v. Montalvo-Flores, ---F. 4th---, 2023 WL 5521062 (3d Cir. Aug. 28, 2023), the Third Circuit found the defendant, Christopher Montalvo-Flores, had a reasonable expectation of privacy in a rental car, giving him Fourth Amendment standing to challenge a search of the vehicle. The majority pointed to the fact that Mr. Montalvo-Flores was in possession of the vehicle's keys; the vehicle was locked; the vehicle had been rented by his girlfriend; and officers had seen the couple exchange the keys just prior to the search. The majority found that Mr. Montalvo-Flores satisfied both prongs of the Katz test for Fourth Amendment standing because he expressed a subjective expectation of privacy in the vehicle and that expectation was objectively reasonable under the circumstances. The majority also found that Mr. Montalvo-Flores's lack of a valid driver's license was immaterial to the issue of standing because a person without a driver's license can still exercise lawful dominion and control over a parked car.
The Court accordingly vacated Mr. Montalvo-Flores's conviction and remanded for further proceedings on his motion to suppress. In dissent, Judge Hardiman argued that Mr. Montalvo-Flores failed to carry his burden of showing that his possession of the vehicle (vis a vis the keys) was lawful.