PART 2 of 5: Vehicular Searches Without a Warrant. Search Incident to a Lawful Arrest. SILA.

Search conducted incident to a lawful custodial arrest “is not only an exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment, but is also a ‘reasonable’ search under that Amendment.” United States v. Robinson, 414 U.S. 218, 235 (1973).

Rationales for the search incident to arrest exception: (1) the need to disarm the suspect in order to take him into custody, and (2) the need to preserve evidence for later use at trial.

Under Chimel v. California, the officers may search the arrestee and areas within the immediate control of the arrestee. 395 U.S. 752 (1969)


First, there must have been a lawful custodial arrest, meaning (1) probable cause exist to believe that the arrestee has committed a crime and (2) an arrest is actually made.

For example, the Supreme Court struck down an Iowa statute that permitted an officer to conduct a “search incident to citation” in those cases where a law enforcement officer had probable cause to arrest a suspect for a traffic violation, but chose, instead, simply to issue a traffic citation. Knowles v. Iowa, 525 U.S. 113 (1998).

The second requirement for a lawful search incident to arrest is that the
search must be “substantially contemporaneous” with the arrest. New York v. Belton, 453 U.S. 454, 460 (1981).

Anton Vialtsin, Esq.
LAWSTACHE™ LAW FIRM | Criminal Defense and Business Law
(619) 357-6677

Do you want to buy our Lawstache merchandise? Maybe a t-shirt?

Want to mail me something (usually mustache related)? Send it to 185 West F Street, Suite 100-D, San Diego, CA 92101

Want to learn about our recent victories?

Are you are a Russian speaker? Вы говорите по-русски?

Based in San Diego, CA
Licensed: California, Nevada, and Federal Courts

The San Diego-based business litigation and criminal defense attorneys at LAWSTACHE™ LAW FIRM are experienced and dedicated professionals singularly focused on one goal: achieving the best results for our clients. Through our hard work and expertise, we guarantee all of our clients that we will diligently protect their rights and zealously pursue justice. Our clients deserve nothing less!