You probably know that police officers require warrants before searching your body and your immediate environment. However, this is not a requirement in all cases. A police officer can conduct a search on you:
If You Have Been Arrested
If a police officer has already arrested you, then he or she doesn't need a warrant to conduct a search. This is true even if the arrest was made without a warrant. The reasoning is that you may be having concealed weapons, and the search allows the officer to unearth them and protect his or her person, as well as the general public.
This kind of search is only permitted to areas within your immediate vicinity. Therefore, the officer cannot arrest you in the street and take you home to search your house because even if you have weapons in the house, they are not endangering him or her.
If You Have Been Stopped For a Traffic Violation
If a police officer stops you for a traffic violation, then he or she is allowed to search your car without a warrant. However, this kind of search is limited to your body and the vehicle's interior (including the glove compartment), but not the trunk. The law only allows the officer to go through the trunk after he or she impounds the car.
When the Officer Believes that You Are About to Commit a Crime
You shouldn't expect a police officer to produce a warrant of arrest if he or she thinks that you are about to commit a crime. The law allows police officers to stop you if they have reasonable belief that you are about to commit a criminal activity. For example, if an officer sees you entering a shopping mall with a weapon, then he or she is allowed to stop and search. Clearly, it is reasonable for the officer to assume that you are planning to use the weapon to commit a robbery
If There are Exigent Circumstances
Not all situations of warrantless searches are as clear cut as the examples above. An officer of the law can legally search you without any warrant if there are exigent circumstances to support the arrest. For example, if police officers rush to a suspected crime scene after receiving reports of gunshots, then they can legally search any of the persons at the place.
If police officers search, detain or arrest you without a warrant, then you can engage a criminal lawyer like Brian Walker Law Firm, PC to examine the facts of the situation if you believe the search was uncalled for. Proof of illegal searches or arrest may be used to weaken your criminal charges.
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