Can the Police Conduct a Strip Search at Will?

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Too common are the stories of police officers abusing their authority by making someone undergo a strip search following a minor violation such as speeding, jaywalking or even littering.

Even though cavity and strip searches can be humiliating, invasive and extremely embarrassing, they are, at times, allowed by law; however, certain requirements have to be met.

When Can Police Perform a Strip Search?

A police officer needs to have a reasonable suspicion you are concealing contraband or a weapon in the area he or she wants to search. There has to be specific circumstances and facts to justify a body cavity or strip search.

If an officer believes you’re concealing weapons, drugs or any other illegal contraband under your clothing, you can be subjected to this procedure. Additionally, factors such as drug paraphernalia lying around or a perpetrator acting high can be justification for a search of this type.

Obviously lawsuits have been filed in association with officers conducting a strip search without legal cause.

What if I’m in Custody?

Depending on your state’s regulations, if you’re residing in a jailhouse or prison, authorities most likely have more leeway to require a strip search. Because of security and safety concerns in correctional facilities, guards can intrude on an individual’s rights assuming they have reasonable objectives. They can perform a strip search even if they don’t suspect you’re hiding anything.

A strip search can even be allowed – according to the U.S. Supreme Court – on a person who was arrested for a non-violent crime such as running a red light or throwing garbage out of a moving vehicle.

Determining whether a police officer has reasonable suspicion to perform a cavity or strip search will depend on the specific circumstances surround your situation. If your rights have been violated and you have been unlawfully searched, contact us today to learn more about your next step.

Your Next Step

If you believe the police have unlawfully performed a search on you or members of the group you are with, we’re here to fight for your rights. If you believe the police might have been acting above the law, contact an attorney immediately to see what your options are.Call 800-555-7780 or contact attorney Patrick Geckle for a free consultation