Strip Searches - When Are They Legal

Full Video Transcript

Being arrested or searched by the police can be humiliating enough - but what if that search required you to remove your clothing? Can the police do that? The short answer is yes, the police can conduct strip searches if they have probable cause to believe that a strip search is necessary for safety reasons or to obtain evidence. However, the right to conduct a strip search is not absolute. While the Supreme Court has not ruled on where a strip search can take place, lower courts have ruled that a strip search cannot take place in public absent a compelling public safety reason. The Supreme Court has weighed in on the issue of strip searches in public schools, however. The Court has found that while school administrators only need a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing before searching students - they must have reason to believe that a strip search, as opposed to a regular search, is necessary. A strip search that is illegally conducted violates a person's Fourth Amendment right to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures. That right to be protected from unreasonable searches is particularly important when applied to something as personal and private as a strip search.

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