DEFINITION OF SEARCH
A "search" is an examination of a specific person, property, or area. The search must be legally authorized. The
people searching must look for specific property or evidence. They are searching for the purpose of seizing a
specific person, property, or evidence. The seized evidence is for the purpose of criminal prosecution.
AUTHORIZATION TO SEARCH
Because of the protection of the Fourth Amendment, MP or other authorized personnel must have legal
"permission" or "authorization" before making a search. This authorization can be obtained through--
Searches based on "probable cause" that result in an "authorization to search" ("search authorization,"
Searches not requiring "probable cause" such as--
Searches incident to apprehension.
A frisk incident to a lawful stop.
Searches of open fields and woodlands.
Searches of government property.
Emergency searches to save life.
Searches within jails.
Restricted area searches.
The military uses "authorization to search" instead of the civilian "search warrant." Authorization to search, as
required under Rule 315 of the MCM, must still meet the fundamental requirements of "probable cause." In order
to get a commander's authorization to search, facts and circumstances must be presented that will convince the
commander that items connected with criminal activity are in the place or on the person to be searched. The
materials presented by the investigator must objectively constitute reasonable grounds for such belief. If
"probable cause" is established by hearsay, the investigator must communicate the underlying facts and
Lead the hearsay source to think that the evidence is where he or she says it is.
Indicate that hearsay source is credible.
Indicate that the information is reliable.
The authorization to search may be written or oral. It may be based on sworn written or oral statements. The
authorizing official must remain impartial.
Authorization to search may include the following people or places:
Searches of persons subject to military law.