Search incident to arrest is a legal doctrine that allows police officers to conduct a search of an arrested person and the surrounding area without a warrant. It is not an automatic right for law enforcement officers. The purpose of the search is to protect the safety of the officer, prevent the destruction of evidence, or to find other evidence.
The Supreme Court of Canada has held that the scope of the search must be tailored to the arrest and the circumstances of the arrest, and that it must be conducted in a manner that is minimally intrusive on the individual’s privacy rights. The search must be limited to the person being arrested and the area immediately surrounding the person. It may include the person’s clothing, pockets, and personal belongings, or vehicle.
The lawyers at Lockyer Zaduk Zeeh have a wealth of experience dealing with Charter issues. This includes unlawful arrests; searches of homes, vehicles, and wiretap investigations; and right to counsel issues. If you or someone you know has been charged because of a search incident to arrest, please give us a call at 416-613-0416 to schedule a consultation.