Immediate Control Law and Legal Definition

In criminal law, immediate control refers to an area within an arrestee’s reach. A police officer may conduct a warrant less search of the area to ensure the safety of the officer and also to prevent the arrestee from destroying evidence. The term also includes the arrestee’s person and the area from within which s/he might gain possession of a weapon or destructible evidence. [United States v. Beltran-Palafox, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54541 (D. Kan. June 3, 2010)].

When used in relation to vehicles, immediate control means vehicular control that is close enough to allow the driver to instantly govern the vehicle's movements. Failure to maintain immediate control over the vehicle may amount to negligence on part of the driver.