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New York Arrest Frequently Asked Questions

What is an arrest search in New York?

In New York an arrest search is a search conducted by the police when they are in the process of arresting a suspect for a crime. An arrest search is also called a "search incident to a lawful arrest" or a “search after arrest.” Usually, the purpose of an arrest search is to ensure that the suspect does not have any weapons or dangerous items that might harm the police, or that might allow the suspect to harm him or herself. Another reason is to find any evidence related to the suspected crime. For example, if the police arrest a suspect for grand larceny, they can search the person. If they police find stolen property in the suspect’s pocket, it may be used as evidence against the suspect.

In New York do police need a search warrant for an arrest search?

While typically a warrant is required before police can search, there are instances in which the police do not need a warrant. During an arrest is an instance in which the police generally do not need a search warrant to conduct a search. However, the police must conduct the arrest properly. For example, the police must have an arrest warrant or probable cause to make the arrest.

What is the scope of an arrest search in New York?

The police are limited as to what they can search during an arrest search. In most cases, the police are only allowed to search the area immediately surrounding the arrested person. This means that if you are arrested several miles from your home, the police cannot search your home and justify it is an arrest search. There must be a spatial relationship between the arrest and the search. This spatial relationship is sometimes referred to as an "arms span" around the suspect. Also, the search is often limited to any weapons that the person might have used to commit a crime, or any drugs, paraphernalia, or other implements connected with the arrest at hand. If the police search beyond what is permissible in an arrest search, then any evidence that is wrongfully obtained will not be admissible at trial.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

While the police have the authority to arrest someone who they suspect of committing a crime, the arrest must be conducted in a manner that does not violate the rights of the suspect. If you are under investigation for a crime, it is important that you have experienced representation as early in the case as possible. The skilled attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have decades of experience successfully representing clients in New York charged with felonies and misdemeanors, and have the resources to ensure that your legal rights are protected throughout the criminal process. Contact us at 800.NY.NY.LAW (800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Manhattan, Staten Island, Suffolk County, Queens, Nassau County, Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, and Westchester County.

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