question.jpgIn Criminal Law

What is a search incident to an arrest?

If a police officer makes a valid arrest, the officer may search the suspect and the area within his immediate control without probable cause or reasonable suspicion, which includes a pat-down search, or if the arrest is made in a person’s home, the officer may conduct a protective sweep of the house. However, searches incident to an arrest may not extent to area’s outside of the suspect’s immediate control or, where it takes place in the house, a cursory inspection of the premises to ensure an attack cannot be launched - there must, however, be articulable facts which, taken together with the rational inferences from those facts, would warrant a reasonable prudent officer in believing that the area to be swept harbors an individual posing danger to those on the arrest.