Question from Zeus, What Are the Legal Grounds for a Police Search in New York?
Answer from AI:
In New York, as in the rest of the United States, the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. This means that police need a valid reason, known as probable cause, to conduct a search. Here are some of the common premises under which police can legally search an individual:
- If an individual voluntarily agrees to a search, the police can proceed without a warrant or probable cause.
- Police can search an individual if they have obtained a search warrant from a judge. The warrant must be based on probable cause and specify the area to be searched and the items sought.
- Police can conduct a search without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe that a person is committing or has committed a crime and that evidence of the crime is present.
Plain View Doctrine
- If an officer is lawfully in a position and sees contraband or evidence of a crime in plain view, they may seize it and conduct a search.
Incident to Arrest
- When police lawfully arrest someone, they can search the person and the immediate area to ensure officer safety and prevent the destruction of evidence.
- In situations where there is an immediate threat to safety, the escape of a suspect, or the imminent destruction of evidence, police may conduct a search without a warrant.
Stop and Frisk
- Under the Terry v. Ohio decision, police can stop and briefly detain a person if they have reasonable suspicion that the person is involved in criminal activity. If the officer believes the person is armed, they may conduct a frisk, a limited pat-down of the person’s outer clothing.
- Due to the mobile nature of vehicles, police may search a car without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe it contains evidence of a crime.