Arrests and Searches Law

The US Constitution has set up the arrests and searches law to govern how legal arrests or searches can be done. The law protects the suspect from unlawful search/seizure of property, mandates Miranda warning, offers the right to avail an attorney, and promises fair jury trial on time.

The arrests and searches law grants certain rights to the suspects and expects them to follow certain guidelines while interacting with the law enforcement people. According to this law, legal arrests and searches can be made only with court issued warrants for a particular search or arrest. The warrant needs to be an official declaration, explaining the reason and duly signed. The warrant must explain the cause for the issue of the same. It could explain the crime committed and name the person, who committed it. The other bodies authorized to issue warrants in the US are the political entities, legislatures, and the US congress chambers.

The elements of the arrests and searches law vary from one state to another. Most jurisdictions do not mandate a warrant for a search or arrest, if the crime had occurred in the sight of law enforcement agents. Moreover, for a suspect of felony, if a probable cause can be established, warrant is not necessary. Otherwise, a warrant is mandatory for all searches and arrests. There are several different types and clauses of the warrants for searches and arrests.

Probable cause is the important aspect of the arrests and searches law. Without it, no search or arrest warrant can be issued. Therefore, when faced with an arrest or a search, the suspects need to check if the ‘probable cause’ is based on one of the following,

  • Factual evidence
  • Circumstantial evidence
  • Suspicious observation
  • Reliable information
  • Police expertise

It cannot be based on hunches or suspicions.


Certain arrests are allowed in public with proper witnesses and cause. Arrests in a private property cannot be made without an official search warrant. When the name of the suspect is unknown, the arrest warrant is issued with the suspect’s description. If there are proper statements convicting a suspect of the particular crime, then the law enforcement agents can arrest that suspect without any warrant.


A home can be searched only after the law officer presents the court issued search warrant to the residents. The search warrant permits the law enforcement to search the property for a person or an object suspected to be part of an identified crime. The main purpose of the search warrant is to protect private homes’ from illegal or unauthorized searches. If a law enforcement officer makes a legal arrest, then he or she is allowed to conduct a search of the suspect or the property without a warrant.


A criminal attorney or criminal defense lawyer would be able to help an individual facing a search or arrest warrant.  Understanding the various rights under the arrests and searches law would help the person in seeking the right help and taking appropriate actions.

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