Searches incident to an arrest

One of the things that evidence in a drug case sometimes comes from is a search police conducted of the suspect's person.

It is worth noting that there are multiple situations in which police are allowed to conduct a search of a person without a warrant. One of these situations is when an officer has just arrested an individual.

Searches police conduct of a person right after arresting them are generally called searches incident to arrest. Generally, when a lawful arrest is conducted, police are allowed to conduct a search incident to the arrest without a warrant. There are limits to what can be searched during this search type. Specifically, searches incident to an arrest are typically to be limited to the arrestee's person, the arrestee's clothing and areas that are within the arrestee's immediate control. If a search incident to an arrest goes beyond these limits, it may be unlawful.

Thus, one of the things it can be important to look at when trying to determine the legality of a given search that was incident to an arrest is what specifically police searched.

Attorneys can help drug crime defendants investigate the legality of all the different police searches that occurred in their case. Looking into the specifics of police searches can be very important in drug cases, as impropriety by police when it comes to searches can sometimes result in certain evidence being thrown out. Evidence being tossed in a drug case due to an illegal search can sometimes substantially weaken a prosecution's case. 

Source: FindLaw, "The Fourth Amendment 'Reasonableness' Requirement," Accessed Feb. 18, 2015

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