What Happens When Police Search a Criminal Suspect?

Unless you’re in hot pursuit of a suspect, police may only search your property or yourself if they have probable cause. They can also do so if they are in an emergency situation.


The warrant must describe the place to be searched with particularity. It should also be signed by a neutral and detached magistrate or judge.


Whenever an individual is arrested for a crime, they are taken to the police station or jail where they undergo a process known as “booking.” Although exact procedures may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, most of these procedures will include collecting information such as the suspect’s name, address, date and place of birth, and the charge or charges against them. The suspect will also be photographed in a series of images called mug shots. In addition, the suspect will be searched for weapons and contraband, and fingerprints will be taken. Officers will also search through databases for any outstanding warrants, which can be anything from unpaid parking tickets to murder charges in another state.

A cursory pat-down inspection is a standard part of the booking procedure, but sometimes the suspect will be required to remove all of their clothing for a more extensive strip search to prevent them from hiding weapons or drugs. Jail personnel will also conduct a general health screening, which might include blood tests or X-rays, to ensure that the suspect doesn’t pose a threat to them or other inmates.

The arrestee will then be provided with a uniform and must relinquish all of their personal belongings unless they are considered evidence of the crime, such as a pocket knife or other weapon. The suspect will be placed into a holding cell or other secure location to await trial or the posting of bail.


The Fourth Amendment protects an individual’s right to privacy from unreasonable search and seizure. During searches, police or other government agents can investigate people’s homes, vehicles, and personal belongings to see if there is evidence of a crime. The items found can then be seized. If an officer violates your rights during a search, you can use that as a defense in court.

A search must generally be supported by a warrant based on probable cause, but there are exceptions. For instance, if a police officer observes that a suspect is acting suspiciously in a high crime area and they have reasonable suspicion that the suspect may be involved in criminal activity, a cursory search can be allowed without a warrant. The search may involve a pat down of outer clothing to check for weapons.

Similarly, if an officer makes an arrest supported by probable cause and they bring the suspect to the station to be detained in custody, a cheek swab of DNA can be taken for forensic purposes and the evidence is admissible in court.

However, police can only search the area immediately surrounding an arrested person for weapons, illegal drugs, or paraphernalia that could be used to support the charges. For instance, if an officer arrests a person for armed robbery in their living room, they may not search the medicine cabinet or the closet in which they were hiding.


During normal brain function, nerve cells (known as neurons) communicate with each other by sending chemical and electrical signals. These signals control the muscles, glands and other parts of the body to produce human thoughts and emotions. If neurons fire abnormally, people may have seizures. Seizures are often described as a feeling of intense fear, tingling or dizziness. They can be accompanied by convulsing or shaking.

Most people have a few seconds to minutes of warning before a seizure happens. This period is called prodrome and can include feelings in the stomach, a sense of deja vu or changes in the way things smell, taste, feel, sound or look. It can also be accompanied by headaches, loss of balance or trouble with sleep.

The main concern when someone is having a seizure is protecting them from injury. This includes trying to prevent a fall and loosening their tight clothing, especially around the neck. If they are vomiting, try to turn them on their side so the vomit doesn’t go down their throat.

After a seizure, the person will probably need medical attention to make sure there are no serious injuries. A doctor can treat problems like a traumatic head injury or a stroke. For severe and recurrent seizures, doctors can perform a surgery called functional hemispherectomy. This involves separating the abnormal part of the brain by disconnecting fiber bundles that communicate with the rest of the brain.


Once the police have enough probable cause to arrest a suspect, they will take him into custody. He will be given a uniform to wear and may be forced to relinquish his clothing and personal belongings, unless they are evidence or contraband. He will be photographed in what are commonly referred to as “mug shots,” and will likely be asked questions about the crime that was alleged.

He will also be run through a database to check for outstanding warrants, which might help solve other crimes. He will be screened for general health issues and may undergo a blood test.