Intrusiveness of Body Cavity Searches

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How Are Body Cavity Searches Defined?

Body cavity searches are defined as searches that involve a visual or manual inspection of the openings, cavities, and orifices of the human body. Each state has different laws regarding body cavity searches, but they are generally considered to be much more intrusive than strip searches or other types of police searches.

For visual body cavity searches, the agent may use a flashlight to inspect areas of the body that are normally concealed from plain sight. They may also view openings of the body, such as in the ears, nostrils, or rectum. Manual body searches are more invasive than visual body searches and may involve inspection using touch, insertion, or probing, as well as the use of medical detecting devices. 

When Is a Body Cavity Search Considered “Intrusive”?

There are many ways in which a body cavity search can be considered intrusive. Some instances include:

If a body cavity search is found to be overly-intrusive, the evidence obtained from that search will likely be excluded from a criminal trial. Body cavity search laws therefore require the authorities to follow strict standards, and if possible to use alternative search methods if available.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Body Cavity Search Issues?

Body cavity searches need to be done in a way that minimizes the amount of intrusiveness upon the suspect’s body. You may wish to hire a criminal lawyer if you need help with legal issues involving body cavity searches. Your attorney can advise you on your rights and can also provide you with legal representation for your situation. A qualified criminal law attorney will be able to help determine what your legal options are under your state’s laws.

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Last Modified: 01-28-2014 11:01 AM PST

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