New York Civil Rights And Criminal Defense Lawyers

What are your rights pertaining to illegal strip searches?

On Behalf of | Wednesday Jul 6, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Everyone in New York deserves to be treated with respect. This is even true for individuals who are arrested on charges regardless of their innocence. However, illegal strip searches are a huge violation of people’s civil rights.

What is a strip search?

A strip search is a common practice in law enforcement. It involves making a prisoner or suspect strip so that a prison guard, jail administrator or other law enforcement officer can search them for illegal contraband. However, in some cases, complete nudity for a strip search isn’t necessary. Searches can be strictly visual, but sometimes, the law enforcement officer might touch the individual.

When is a strip search considered illegal?

It’s fair to question when a strip search is considered illegal. Even if a person is a prisoner, suspect or detainee, they are still due the same level of respect to their civil rights as anyone else. Under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, a person may have reasonable expectations of privacy. A strip search must also be conducted for a legitimate purpose. If there is no legitimate reason behind it, the search might be illegal.

Another factor in determining whether a strip search is illegal is where it occurred and who conducted it. When they take place in a jail, prison or corrections facility on a prisoner or detainee by a corrections officer or police officer, it’s considered legal.

However, if it was done in a different place by someone with no such authority to conduct a strip search, it’s unlawful. For example, a strip search done by a TSA agent at an airport would be considered illegal in most cases. There must be probable cause to conduct such a search.

Illegal strip searches have resulted in countless lawsuits being filed in New York and across the country. If your Fourth Amendment rights have been violated and there was no legal basis for being strip searched, you have every right to fight back.