Protective Search Law and Legal Definition

Protective search refers to the search of a detained suspect conducted to protect the safety of an arresting officer and to preserve evidence. It also includes the search of the area within the immediate control of the suspected person. A protective search can be furnished without a warrant.

In Brown v. State, 358 So. 2d 596 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2d Dist. 1978), the court discusses about sanction for improper protective searches. In such cases, evidence may not be introduced if it was discovered by means of a seizure and search which were not reasonably related in scope to the justification for their initiation.