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Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3001
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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Hi, My son (age 23) was searched last night. He is not a

Resolved Question:

Hi, My son (age 23) was searched last night. He is not a suspect in any crime. The only thing that he was doing was urinating in back of a building (not the best place I know). The police confiscaed a knife that he was carring and said he could have it back this AM. Is this legal? We live in upstate NY Thanks, Diane
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Thomas Swartz replied 8 years ago.


Yes, it is. Your son was not committing a major crime, but he was urinating in public. Thus, the police had the right to place him in custody (or arrest him) and give him a citation for public urination. Any time the police can place you in custody, they are allowed to conduct a search of your person to look for weapons. The courts have upheld this as legal because of the fact that arrest situations are so dangerous to the police, that the courts have said that it is reasonable for the police to search for and seize weapons for their own safety. And this is exactly what happened in your son's case. The police seized your's son's knife during his "arrest" in order to protect their safety, and since the weapon was not evidence in the crime of urination itself, it will be returned.

I hope this answers your question.


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Thomas Swartz's Post: The PD didn't arrest him they just searched and let him go.
Expert:  Thomas Swartz replied 8 years ago.

Yes, they did not arrest him. But he was placed in custody meaning that he was not free to leave. And even in these circumstances, the police are allowed to search for weapons for their own safety.


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