Can a Virginia Marine Resources Commision Marine Patrol Officer demand that you show him the contents of your fish boxes after having pulled your boat out of the water upon completion of a fishing trip. For discussion purposes, the officer has not even seen you catch a fish from his vantage point.
Scenario two is the same except your boat is still in the water. He has not even seen you catch a fish from his vantage point.
Let me start by saying that I am a law student and not an attorney admitted by the Bar to practice law in the Commonwealth. In addition, I am only a first year law student so I certainly do not present myself as an expert in any regard.
Finally, I should note that if the boat is on saltwater or on a navigable waterway of the Commonwealth, then Admiralty Law applies and may offer exceptions to warrant requirements of which I am unaware since I have yet to take Admiralty Law.
Having made all of my disclaimers, it appears that generally, Commonwealth case law seems on the side of the citizen in this regard.
A few cases to illustrate.
Johnson v. Commw.
, 496 S.E.2d 143 (Va. Ct. App. 1998) (finding that a VMRC warrantless search of a warehouse and adjacent dock on private business premises was a violation of defendant's 4th Amendment rights)
Commw. v. Wilkins
, Unpublished Opinion (Va. Ct. App. Jun. 24, 2008) (finding that a game warden was not authorized to conduct a warrantless search of hunter and the fruits of that search were properly suppressed during a prosecution for being a felon in possession of a firearm)
I took a quick look at both the Code of Virginia and the Administrative Code and do not see any enabling legislation or regulations that would attach an implicit consent to search to acceptance of a fishing license although I suspect that this would be the argument the Commonwealth would make in any prosecution based upon such a search.