Requirements for Apprehensions
In Part A you learned about "probable cause" as it related to protection of privacy and searches. "Probable cause"
must also exist when making an apprehension.
Before apprehending someone, MP must have "reasonable belief" that an offense has been or will be committed.
MP must also have a "reasonable belief" that the person ready to be apprehended committed or would have
committed the offense. This belief can be based on MP observation or on a reliable report that an offense was
Conducting an Apprehension
When MP apprehend an offender, they should tell the offender that he or she is under apprehension. Part of the
apprehension procedure may include reading a subject his rights. Also, Army policy recommends that MP tell the
offender the general nature of the offense.
Arrest warrants are not generally required prior to the apprehension of service members. An arrest warrant would
be required to apprehend a soldier in his government quarters if no exception like hot pursuit applies. This is due
to the heightened expectation of privacy in a traditional dwelling place. The same, however, is not true for
In U.S. v. McCarthy, 38 M.J. 398 (C.M.A. 1993), the Court of Military Appeals stated that a warrant was not
required to apprehend the accused in his military dormitory room. Under the fourth amendment and R.C.M.
302(e)(2), an apprehension warrant or authorization is only required if the apprehension occurs in the "home." A
barracks room is not equivalent to a "home." The precedential value of this case is not entirely clear. Members
of the soldier's chain of command, military police, and investigators should consider the effect the "single soldier"
initiative will have upon a soldier's reasonable expectation of privacy in his/her barracks room. There are no
cases on this issue at present.
SEARCHES INCIDENT TO APPREHENSION
After MP apprehend someone, they must make sure that they secure--
Their safety and the safety of bystanders.
Weapons from the subject.
Because of these safety factors, the law allows you to conduct a search incident to apprehension. To be legal, the
search must meet the following requirements:
Apprehension must occur before the search is made.