The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. This protection requires law enforcement to seek a warrant or to have probable cause in order to search you or your property. However, a new California law allows law enforcement to use a search technique on some people without the need for probable cause.
If you have been arrested for a crime in California, law enforcement has the ability to body scan you without probable cause. Does this new law violate your rights?
Bill Allowing Police to Use Body Scanners Signed
California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed Assembly Bill 1705 into law, making it legal for law enforcement to use body scanners on anyone who is arrested for a misdemeanor or infraction.
This new law essentially allows authorities to perform searches of anyone who is taken into custody without the need for probable cause. The law makes a specific exemption for pregnant women, and it requires that the person conducting the body scan be the same sex as the person being scanned.
Body scanners used by law enforcement work in a similar way to scanners used at most airports. They provide detailed outlines of the person who is being scanned. Like TSA at airports, law enforcement uses body scanners to locate any drugs or weapons being carried by the person being scanned.
Do Body Scanners Violate Your Rights?
Does the use of body scanners without probable cause violate your rights?
The American Civil Liberties Union and several prisoners’ rights groups think so. In opposing the bill, these organizations claimed the new law is a way to get around existing protections against invasive searches of offenders who are accused of committing minor crimes.
California law protects citizens from being subjected to “unnecessary strip and body cavity searches after arrests for minor” offenses such as misdemeanors and infractions. The ACLU believes that body scanners are similar to strip and body cavity searches, and thus should also be limited.
Law enforcement believes body scanners are a less invasive way to perform a search, according to Cory Salzillo of the California State Sheriffs Association. Still, this law is seen by many as a way to allow the police to perform unlawful searches of a person.
Do You Think Police Should Be Able to Body Scan You?
Do you believe that the use of the body scanning tactic violates your rights? At Wallin & Klarich, we value your opinion, and we want to hear from you. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Do you think body scans are too invasive? Do you agree that people who are arrested for misdemeanor crimes or infractions should be subject to body scans by law enforcement?