COVID-19 Update: We are open and serving our clients. Learn More >>>
Member of:
Justia Lawyer Rating
American Association for Justice
Union Plus

New York Arrest Frequently Asked Questions

What Is an Arrest?

An arrest occurs when the police suspect that a person has committed a crime and takes the person into custody. While handcuffs are often used during an arrest, they are not necessary for an arrest to occur. An arrest occurs as soon as the suspect is no longer free to leave or move about. An arrest is typically the first step in the criminal justice process.

Back to Top

What Is Probable Cause?

In order to make a lawful arrest, the police must have probable cause. Probable cause exists when the police officer has a reasonable belief that a person has committed a crime or is about to commit a crime. The reasonable belief must be based on objective circumstances. In the absence of probable cause, the arrest would be unlawful.

Back to Top

What Is an Arrest Search?

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.

Back to Top

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.

Back to Top

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.

Back to Top

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.

Back to Top

Client Reviews
My wife and I met under some unconventional circumstances. After I had some legal problems, Mr Bilkis and his firm continually got me out of trouble. I then had his firm represented my wife and he got her out of trouble! We are still married and got our ways straightened away. We both can't thank him enough for saving our lives and our families! J.P.
I contacted Stephen Bilkis' office for an issue regarding a family member and I could not be happier with the results. I have recommended the firm to friends and family, all of whom were also ecstatic with Mr. Bilkis and all members of his staff. P.R.
I was in need of legal assistance for a very sensitive matter for a family member. I contacted the law offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC and was met with staff whose demeanor was supportive, compassionate and professional. The lawyer handling our case had many years of experience and treated us as if we were his own family. Our experience was so good, and we became so close to all of the staff and all of the attorneys who assisted us, that we consider them our extended family and continue to send them our home baked gifts for the holidays. P.A.K.
I hired Stephen Bilkis and Associates to represent me on a legal matter a few months ago and am grateful for their swift action and resolution on my behalf. I was impressed with their professionalism and would recommend them to friends and family in a heartbeat. M.B.