An officer learned that the defendant’s license had been revoked. Four days later, he observed the defendant driving an automobile. He stopped the car and informed the defendant that he was under arrest for driving with a revoked license. The officer conducted a search incident to arrest. During the search, he felt an object in the defendant’s coat but could not determine what it was. The officer reached into the pocket and pulled out the object, a crumpled up cigarette package. He opened the package and found capsules he believed to be heroin.
Whether a full body search of a suspect for items other than evidence of the crime for which a suspect is arrested is within the scope of the search incident to an arrest?
Yes. During a lawful arrest, a full search of the person may be made by virtue of the lawful arrest.Yes. During a lawful arrest, a full search of the person may be made by virtue of the lawful arrest.
A lawful arrest establishes an authority to search. It is immaterial that the officer did not fear or suspect the defendant was armed. Having discovered the crumpled package of cigarettes, the officer was entitled to search it as well as to seize it when the search revealed the heroin capsules.
414 U.S. 218, 94 S. Ct. 467 (1973)