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Colorado Strip Searches In Drug Cases – The Law – Know Your Rights – Colorado Criminal Defense

By H. Michael Steinberg – Colorado Drug Crimes Criminal Defense Lawyer – Attorney

Colorado Strip Searches In Drug CasesColorado Strip Searches In Drug Cases – Outraged clients often ask me when can the police arrest me and under what circumstances can they strip search me in Colorado? What evidence do they need to have, how is the arrest made, and how far can they go to search my person – strip search me?

As in all arrests – the police aew required to follow the law – so naturally it is in your best interests to know the law to understand your Colorado legal rights. 

What follows is a guide to the laws in Colorado as regards the arrests and strip searches of Colorado’s citizens – I hope it helps you..

First  – When Can A Police Officer Arrest Me In Colorado?

Governed by Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) 16-2-102, 16-2-103, 16-2-106,

What Evidence Does a Police Need Before He or She Can Make An Arrest?

CRS 16-3-102 Governs This Question

16-3-102(1)A peace officer may arrest a person when:

( a ) He has a warrant commanding that such person be arrested;

or

( b ) Any crime has been or is being committed by such person in his presence;

or

( c ) He has probable cause to believe that an offense was committed and has probable cause to believe that the offense was committed by the person to be arrested

When and Where Can An Arrest Take Place In Colorado?

CRS 16-3-101 Governs This Question In Colorado

(1) An arrest may be made on any day and at any time of the day or night.

(2) All necessary and reasonable force may be used in making an arrest.

(3) All necessary and reasonable force may be used to effect an entry upon any building or property or part thereof to make an authorized arrest.

When Can A Police Officer Contact Me? What Grounds Do They Need? What Can They Force Me To Tell Them? 

CRS 16-3-103 Governs This Question In Colorado

(1)A peace officer may stop any person who he reasonably suspects is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a crime and may require him to give his name and address, identification if available, and an explanation of his actions.

A peace officer shall not require any person who is stopped pursuant to this section to produce or divulge such person’s social security number. The stopping shall not constitute an arrest.

When a peace officer has stopped a person for questioning pursuant to this section and reasonably suspects that his personal safety requires it, he may conduct a pat-down search of that person for weapons.

Can A Police Officer Follow Me From One Jurisdiction To Another?  What Does Fresh Pursuit Mean?

CRS 16-3-106 Governs This Question In Colorado

When any peace officer is in fresh pursuit of any alleged offender,

      • having a warrant for his arrest
      • or having knowledge that such warrant has been issued,
      • or, in the absence of an arrest warrant, when the offense was committed in the officer’s presence
      • or the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the alleged offender has committed a criminal offense,
      • AND the alleged offender crosses a boundary line marking the territorial limit of his authority, such peace officer may pursue him beyond such boundary line and make the arrest, issue a summons and complaint, or issue a notice of penalty assessment

Second – Colorado Strip Searches In Drug Cases – Traffic or Petty Offense Arrests And Strip Searches In Colorado

What Is A Strip Search And What Is The Law In Colorado On Strip Searches In Minor Or Even Major Crimes?

CRS 16-3-405 Governs This Question

First – what is a strip search?

16-3-405 (2) As used in this section, “strip search” means having an arrested person remove or arrange some or all of his or her clothing so as to permit a visual inspection of the genitals, buttocks, anus, or female breasts of such person.

Second – When can a strip search take place in a traffic crime or petty offense?

16-3-405 (1)No person arrested for a traffic or a petty offense shall be strip searched, prior to arraignment,

unless there is reasonable belief that the individual is concealing a weapon or a controlled substance.

or that the individual, upon identification, is a parolee or an offender serving a sentence in any correctional facility in the state

or that the individual is arrested for driving while under the influence of drugs.

Who Can Perform The Strip Search?

16-3-405 (3) Any strip search that is conducted shall be performed by a person of the same sex as the arrested person and on premises where the search cannot be observed by persons not physically conducting the search.

What Rules Do The Police Have To Follow In Conducting A Strip Search?

16-3-405 (4) and (5) Every peace officer or employee of a police department or sheriff’s department conducting a strip search shall obtain the written permission of the police commander or an agent thereof or a sheriff or an agent thereof designated for the purposes of authorizing a strip search in accordance with this section.

No search of any body cavity other than the mouth shall be conducted without the written permission of the police commander or an agent thereof or a sheriff or an agent thereof authorizing a body cavity search. The search must be performed under sanitary conditions and conducted by a licensed physician or nurse.

What Is The Punishment If The Police Fail To Comply With This Law?

16-3-405 (6)  Any peace officer or employee of a police department or a sheriff’s department who knowingly or intentionally fails to comply with any provision of this section commits second degree official misconduct, as defined in section 18-8-405, C.R.S. (Second degree official misconduct is a class 1 petty offense.) Nothing contained in this section shall preclude prosecution of a peace officer or employee of a police department or sheriff’s department under any other provision of the law.

When Can A Strip Search Be Performed In Other Contexts Such As Colorado A Jail Or Prison?

Strip searches are considered reasonable for the purposes of the Fourth Amendment when a detainee in prison is placed in the general prison population and when there is a reasonable suspicion that the detainee has concealed weapons, drugs, or contraband.

The courts distinguish between jail detainees who are awaiting bail and those who are entering the jail population when evaluating the necessity of a strip search under constitutional standards. Archuleta v. Wagner 523 F.3d 1278 (10th Cir. 2008).

What About Strip Searches And The Requirement Of A Search Warrant For Controlled Substances Under The Fourth Amendment?

Strip searches require reasonable suspicion specific to the search. They are considered to be  “outside the scope” of a warrant allowing a search “upon a person.”

Strip searches must be authorized :

(1) by a warrant allowing strip searches that includes an articulable basis for the more invasive search;

or

(2) by officers having particularized reasonable suspicion that the defendant has hidden contraband on his or her body.

A trial court MUST make “evidentiary findings” regarding the justification for the strip search in a hearing challenging the legality of a strip search in Colorado – that is – did the officers have the requisite reasonable suspicion that a defendant was hiding drugs on his body.

Colorado Strip Searches In Drug Cases

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael SteinbergEmail The Author A Denver Colorado Drug Crimes Criminal Defense Lawyer  – or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance – 720-220-2277.

If you are charged with A Colorado crime or you have questions about the topic of Colorado Strip Searches In Drug Cases, please call our office. The Law Offices of H. Michael Steinberg, in Denver, Colorado, provide criminal defense clients with effective, efficient, intelligent and strong legal advocacy. We can educate you and help you navigate the stressful and complex legal process related to your criminal defense issue.

H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense AttorneyH. Michael Steinberg, is a Denver, Colorado criminal defense lawyer with over 30 years of day to day courtroom experience –  specializing in Colorado Criminal Law along the Front Range.  He will provide you with a free initial case consultation to evaluate your legal issues and to answer your questions with an honest assessment of your options.  Remember, it costs NOTHING to discuss your case.  Call now for an immediate free phone consultation.

Helping Clients To Make Informed Decisions In the Defense of Colorado Criminal Cases.

Contact A Lawyer with Three Decades of Experience as a Denver Criminal Attorney at The Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm Today.

Colorado Defense Lawyer H. Michael Steinberg provides solid criminal defense for clients throughout the Front Range of Colorado – including the City and County courts of Adams County, Arapahoe County, City and County of Boulder, City and County of Broomfield, City and County of Denver, Douglas County, El Paso County – Colorado Springs, Gilpin County, Jefferson County, Larimer County, and Weld County,…. and all the other cities and counties of Colorado along the I-25 Corridor… on cases involving …Colorado Strip Searches In Drug Cases.


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___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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