What constitutes a valid search?

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What constitutes a valid search?

I received a minor in possession on my college campus. After giving me the MIP, the police officer then asked to see my wallet, and found a fake ID in it, and so also charged me with possession of false identification. I now know that because I consented to this search of my wallet, it was a perfectly legal search but if I had refused, would I have the legal right to do so? Or would such a search of my wallet even if I didn’t consent be legal as a search incident to lawful arrest?

Asked on March 7, 2013 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You are correct that if you had not consented to the search, the search would have occurred and would have been a lawful search incident to an arrest.  A search incident to an arrest does not require a search warrant.  The purpose of a search incident to an arrest is to search for weapons that could endanger the police or others.  Any contraband that is found during the search incident to an arrest is admissible evidence against you.  The fake ID is admissible evidence against you.


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