Search incident to a lawful arrest

Specifically, the Court distinguished a search of cell phones, which contain vast quantities of personal data, from the limited physical search at issue in Robinson. The Court, however, both discounted the prevalence of these events and the efficacy of warrantless searches to defeat them. Rather, the Court noted that other means existed besides a search of a cell phone to secure the data contained therein, including turning the phone off or placing the phone in a bag that isolates it from radio waves.

However, the Justices have long found themselves in disagreement about the scope of the search incident to arrest as it extends beyond the person to the area in which the person is arrested— most commonly either his premises or his vehicle. Certain early cases went both ways on the basis of some fine distinctions, but in Harris v.

Searches incident to a lawful arrest

United States , the Court approved a search of a four-room apartment pursuant to an arrest under warrant for one crime, where the search turned up evidence of another crime. A year later, in Trupiano v. United States , a raid on a distillery resulted in the arrest of a man found on the premises and a seizure of the equipment; the Court reversed the conviction because the officers had had time to obtain a search warrant and had not done so.

It grows out of the inherent necessities of the situation at the time of the arrest. But there must be something more in the way of necessity than merely a lawful arrest. The Court observed that the issue was not whether the officers had the time and opportunity to obtain a search warrant but whether the search incident to arrest was reasonable. In Chimel v. California , however, a narrower view was asserted, the primacy of warrants was again emphasized, and a standard by which the scope of searches pursuant to arrest could be ascertained was set out.

Canadian Criminal Procedure and Practice/Search and Seizure/Warrantless Searches/Incident to Arrest

And the area into which an arrestee might reach in order to grab a weapon or evidentiary items must, of course, be governed by a like rule. A gun on a table or in a drawer in front of someone who is arrested can be as dangerous to the arresting officer as one concealed in the clothing of the person arrested. Such searches, in the absence of well-recognized exceptions, may be made only under the authority of a search warrant. Although the viability of Chimel had been in doubt for some time as the Court refined and applied its analysis of reasonable and justifiable expectations of privacy, it has in some but not all contexts survived the changed rationale.

Thus, in Mincey v. The occupant had been arrested and removed and it was true, the Court observed, that a person legally taken into custody has a lessened right of privacy in his person, but he does not have a lessened right of privacy in his entire house. And, in United States v.


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Chimel has, however, been qualified by another consideration. Belton held that police officers who had made a valid arrest of the occupant of a vehicle could make a contemporaneous search of the entire passenger compartment of the automobile, including containers found therein. United States, U.

Moore, S. Ohio, U. California, U. The Court, in Birchfield v. North Dakota , U. Fourth, the Court did not disturb certain other exceptions to this rule. As the dissent explained,.

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Finally, there may be other avenues for reviewing the contents of the car, such as by inventorying the contents if the car is taken into possession of the department. The decision also points to two practical issues. First, bad facts make bad law. Second, never tell a judge what the law says. Please contact customerservices lexology.

April 21, likely changed law enforcement and criminal prosecution forever. On that day, the United States Supreme Court announced its latest decision regarding warrantless searches of vehicles incident to lawful arrests in Arizona v. With Gant , the Court severely limited a prior case holding that has served as authority for routine vehicle searches in connection with arrests for twenty-eight years.

Search incident to a lawful arrest

The Gant decision forces state and local governments to retrain law enforcement officers everywhere on searching vehicles in connection with arrests. The starting point for any search is the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which guarantees protection from "unreasonable searches and seizures. In , the United States Supreme Court recognized, "Searches conducted outside the judicial process, without prior approval by judge or magistrate, are per se unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment - subject only to a few specifically established and well-delineated exceptions.

One of those exceptions is a search incident to a lawful arrest. In Chimel v.

Searches incident to a lawful arrest - Wikipedia

California , the United States Supreme Court defined the boundaries of such a search to include "the arrestee's person and the area within his immediate control. New York v. The Supreme Court decided to hear the case known as New York v.

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Belton , twelve years after the "reaching-distance rule" was established, because lower courts had found no workable definition of the boundary defined in Chimel. The facts in Belton were significant. Belton involved only one police officer, arresting four occupants of a vehicle. The Supreme Court found that the search was not unreasonable.


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It stated, "We hold that, when a policeman has made a lawful custodial arrest of the occupant of an automobile, he may, as a contemporaneous incident of that arrest, search the passenger compartment of that automobile. The Supreme Court's holding in Belton was generally interpreted to entitle law enforcement officers to search a vehicle, without a warrant, in connection with any lawful arrest. In Gant, the Supreme Court characterized the Belton holding narrower than its broad application.

It cautioned, "To read Belton as authorizing a vehicle search incident to every recent occupant's arrest would thus untether the rule from the justifications underlying the Chimel exception. In an apparent attempt to bring clarity to the confusion created by Belton, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the Gant case.