Search Law and Legal Definition

In criminal law, search means examination of a person’s body, property or other area which the person would reasonably be expected to consider as private by a law enforcement officer for finding evidence of a crime. Ordinarily a search cannot be conducted without probable cause as the Fourth amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

A search can occur under varied circumstances. For example Border search ( search conducted at the border of a country especially check points for excluding illegal aliens and contraband); Emergency search ( A search conducted by a police officer without warrant as s/he believes it necessary to life or property or has some probable cause and has no time to obtain a warrant); Private search (a search conducted by a private person rather than a law enforcement officer); Title search (records search performed in connection with real property to uncover information).

Example of a State Statute ( Georgia) on Searches.

O.C.G.A. § 17-5-28. Detention and search of persons on premises

In the execution of the search warrant the officer executing the same may reasonably detain or search any person in the place at the time:

(1) To protect himself from attack; or

(2) To prevent the disposal or concealment of any instruments, articles, or things particularly described in the search warrant.