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.
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