Can a Guilford County criminal defense attorney explain a search incident to arrest?
Yes, of course! A search incident to arrest is an exception to the general rule of needing a warrant to search someone. This means that when a search incident to arrest happens, the officer can automatically search the individual and the space surrounding the individual. There are specific policy reasons for this exception to the warrant requirement, which is why the Courts almost always allow for it. You should consult with a Guilford County criminal defense attorney for any questions you may have regarding a search that happened to you.
Generally, a warrant is needed to search a person and their belongings. There are several exceptions to this rule, though, and a search incident to arrest is one of the most common ones because the courts want to emphasize officer safety. So, when a law enforcement officer conducts a lawful arrest of an individual, the officer may conduct a contemporary search of the arrestee, containers found on the arrestee, items within the arrestee’s control, and the physical space around the arrestee. Because these terms can be interpreted broadly, the court has come up with some rules for each one. For example, contemporaneous does not necessarily mean immediate. If the officer takes 10 minutes to look through records in their car and then conducts a search, that’s okay. However, if they take 6 hours after the arrest to conduct the search, this is probably not okay. Another example is that physical space around the arrestee is generally limited to a wingspan distance. This means that the officer cannot conduct a search incident to arrest of your entire house if they arrested you standing in your living room. They may, though, have a valid cause to search your house under another exception to the warrant requirement. You should contact a Guilford County criminal defense attorney to make sure the search conduct on you does not violate any of your rights.
Call a Guilford County criminal defense attorney today for more information about a search incident to arrest! The criminal defense attorneys at Garrett, Walker, Aycoth, and Olson know the requirements of the law and also genuinely care about each and every case presented to them. Call today at 336-379-0539; we are here to help!