Police Search After Arrest Without Warrant In Arkansas

Under Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure 4.1(a) (1), a law enforcement officer may arrest a person without a warrant if the officer has reasonable cause to believe that the person has committed a felony. Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure 12.1 states in subsections (a) and (d) that an officer who is making a lawful arrest may, without a search warrant, conduct a search of the person or property of the accused in order to protect the officer, the accused, or others; or to obtain evidence of the commission of the offense for which the accused has been arrested or to seize contraband, the fruits of crime, or other things criminally possessed or used in conjunction with the offense. A search incident to a lawful arrest is valid even if conducted before the arrest, provided that the arrest and search are substantially contemporaneous and that there was probable cause to arrest prior to the search. Brunson v. State, 327 Ark. 567, 940 S.W.2d 440 (1997). Reasonable cause to arrest without a warrant does not require the degree of proof sufficient to sustain a conviction. E.g., Hudson v. State, 316 Ark. 360, 872 S.W.2d 68 (1994). Reasonable, or probable, cause for a warrantless arrest exists when the facts and circumstances within an officer's knowledge are sufficient to permit a person of reasonable caution to believe that an offense has been committed by the person to be arrested. Id. The reviewing court makes an independent determination of a trial court's suppression ruling based on the totality of the circumstances, reversing only if the trial court's ruling was clearly against the preponderance of the evidence. Id. In assessing the existence of reasonable cause, the appellate court's review is liberal rather than strict. Id.