PVT Pothaid is apprehended for sale of marijuana. Can the briefcase he is carrying be searched? Yes, because
the briefcase is within the reach of PVT Pothaid.
Conducting the actual search of a person and seizing evidence or contraband has certain requirements. In the next
section, you will learn about some of those specific requirements.
EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES SEARCH
Exigent circumstances refer to the conditions that demand prompt action. A search authorization or civilian
search warrant is not required under this rule when there is--
Insufficient time. There must be reasonable belief that there is not enough time to get a search
authorization. If such time was taken, the evidence would be removed, concealed, or destroyed.
Lack of communications. A condition must exist where MP could not get in touch with a person
authorized to grant a search authorization. There must be a reasonable belief that such a delay would
have the same results as listed under insufficient time.
Search of an operable vehicle. A vehicle is considered "operable" unless a reasonable person could
know that it was not functional for transportation.
No requirement by the US Constitution.
Article 31, UCMJ
This article is the application of the Fifth Amendment to military law.
Military Rule of Evidence 312
MRE 312 provides specific procedures for obtaining evidence from the body. This rule identifies kinds of bodily
evidence. It also provides a "sliding scale approach" to determine the protection given to an individual. "Sliding
scale" means that the degree of bodily intrusion is considered. In other words, more protection is given for
intrusions that are particularly sensitive. Soon we will discuss in greater detail the types of intrusions possible.
MRE 312 is based on the Fourth Amendment which protects a person from unreasonable search. This is
mentioned here because MRE 312 is often confused with self-incrimination. As we go along in our discussion of
search and seizure of evidence from a person, it may be necessary for you to refer back to these sources.