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As we discussed last week, the Fourth Amendment protects all Americans against unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement officials. Under the Amendment, the definition of a "search' includes the search of a home, a vehicle during a traffic stop, a person's pockets or one of the most invasive tools available to law enforcement: a strip search.

Horror stories abound about people being subjected to strip and cavity searches for even minor offenses. While these searches are sometimes perfectly legal, there are limitations on when law enforcement officials may use them. It is wise to know your rights to make sure they are respected in the event of an arrest.

Police need to have a reasonable suspicion that a person has committed a crime to justify a search. If an officer is aware of specific facts or circumstances that lead him or her to suspect that is the case, they may order a strip search. Often, the suspicion will be that the suspect is hiding drugs, a weapon or other illegal item under his or her clothing.

If you are taken to prison or arrested, it is even easier for police to order a strip search. Corrections officers are authorized to intrude on individual rights if the intrusion is related to a reasonable objective.

If your rights are violated as part of a criminal proceeding, it could have significant implications for your case, affecting what evidence may be used in trial and what options are available to you.

If you are facing criminal charges or are being accused of committing a crime, it is essential to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney. They can help you ensure that your rights in the justice system are protected, which can help you obtain the best possible result in your case.

Source: The Blotter, "When Can Police Conduct a Strip Search?" Andrew Lu, Dec. 20, 2012

To learn more about criminal charges in Missouri, please visit our website.

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