Searches Incident to Arrest

4th Amendment Guide to Searches Incident to Arrest

Search Incident to Arrest is an exception to the 4th amendment's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. That means that if properly followed by law enforcement, officers can search without a warrant. Search Incident to Arrest means that once a valid, legal arrest has already been made, for any lawful purpose whatsoever, the officers may then search the arrested individual completely, without a warrant. This includes all pockets and property in reasonable proximity to the arrest, including a car and all locked areas of the car. This typically does not include a home, if the person is arrested near their house.

Search Incident to Arrest often yields drugs or weapons after an arrest, since those items are easily concealed in pockets or a jacket. The warrantless search is widely used and often lands the defendant in jail with several additional charges added to the original offense for which the arrest was effected.

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