Body cavity searches involve the search of bodily orifices and cavities during a police search for contraband. The authorities are typically searching for items that can be smuggled past security checks, including drugs, weapons, and other items. While each state may have slightly different body cavity and strip search laws, they generally must be conducted to standards which require steps, such as:
In some cases, the search can occur in a less-than-private location if it is necessary to prevent evidence from being lost or if there is a threat to public safety.
There are two basic types of body cavity searches: visual and manual. A visual search is where the inspecting officer visually looks at bodily areas where contraband can be hidden, such as behind the ears, in between bodily crevices, or in other such areas. A flashlight is usually used to illuminate areas, and sometimes skin or other bodily parts can be pulled back to facilitate the visual search.
Manual cavity searches involve insertion of an instrument or finger in order to check for contraband. These are much more intrusive than visual body cavity searches, but they are often necessary in order to complete a police search for evidence of crime. Discretion needs to followed here because if a manual cavity search is conducted where a visual search would have sufficed, it could cause problems for the investigation and raise issues with the suspect’s privacy rights.
Violations of body cavity search procedures can result in a civil lawsuit if the suspect was injured or experienced some form of trauma from the incident. Also, any evidence gathered from an unreasonable search will have to be excluded from the evidence record in an upcoming criminal trial.
Body cavity searches are very serious matters and should be conducted according to the specified procedures. Violations of a body cavity search requirement can affect the outcome of a criminal trial. You may wish to hire a lawyer if you need assistance with search laws in your area. A qualified criminal lawyer can explain your rights to you and can help you with your case as needed.
Last Modified: 10-03-2016 09:32 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.