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Can the Police Search a Bag or Purse After an Arrest? | St. Louis Criminal Defense Lawyer

Can the Police Search a Bag or Purse After an Arrest?

What, exactly, is subject to police search? In Illinois v. Lafayette, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the personal effects including “any container or article in his possession” of an arrested person may be searched and inventoried as a part of the routine administrative procedure at a police station incident to booking and jailing the suspect. The Supreme Court held that under the 4th Amendment balancing test, the intrusion on the individual is outweighed by the promotion of legitimate governmental interests involved.

Accordingly, if a person were arrested for disturbing the peace and taken into custody at the police station, the police may inventory the arrestee’s bags or purse. Because the police are allowed to conduct this type of search, it can often lead to additional charges than what the individual was initially arrested for if he or she is carrying illegal drugs or weapons.

If you or someone you know has been arrested and charged with a criminal offense, it is important to immediately call an experienced Missouri criminal defense lawyer. The St. Louis criminal defense lawyers of Henderson & Waterkotte, P.C. can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.