Places that Police May Search When Making an Arrest

Search of Property Where Arrest Occurred

When someone is arrested at a house or even an apartment complex, police often undertake a search of the property without a warrant. While it is true that the police may conduct a warrantless Search Incident to Arrest, there are limits to where the search can extend under the law of New Jersey. Our lawyers know exactly what is permissible and pin law enforcement down when they exceed their authority. An attorney from our defense firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is accessible 24/7 at 1-877-450-8301 to provide you with the assistance you need. Give one of our attorneys the opportunity to review the facts of your Ocean County, Monmouth County, Passaic County, Mercer County, Union County, Middlesex County, Essex County, Hudson County or Morris County case.

NJ Law: How Much of the Arrest Premises May Police Search

The seminal case on what police may search is the US Supreme Court decision in Chimel v. California. The rule set forth in Chimel provides that police may search the area where evidence (e.g. drugs) or a weapon could have been concealed which was “within the immediate control” of the person subject to arrest. Additionally, police may conduct a Protective Sweep, meaning a quick and limited search, of those parts of a property where that they reasonable believe, based on specific facts, may harbor a person posing a danger to those at the arrest scene. The extent of the search includes all areas where individuals scatter or run, and may even include the Curtilage to the Home. Evidence observed in Plain View in the immediate control area and protective sweep area may be seized. When police hear noise in the premises during the course of an arrest, they may also investigate the sounds. If the officers discover a person who they reasonably believe pose a danger, they may conduct a Patdown and Protective Sweep with respect to that person too. Another scenario that arises involves an individual who is arrested in one room of a house or apartment, and who is permitted to go into another room to get clothes, credentials, etc. Police have the right to follow the arrestee into the secondary room and may seize those items that are in view. For additional information on what can be searched without a warrant in New Jersey, you can refer to our New Jersey Search & Seizure overview page.

Reach an attorney immediately for further assistance at 1-877-450-8301.