Police Search Incident to Arrest In California

The arrest of defendant under section 48264 justifies the police search as incident to the arrest pursuant to People v. Ingham, supra, 5 Cal. App. 4th at pages 330-331, and United States v. Robinson, supra, 414 U.S. at page 235 [94 S. Ct. at pages 476-477]. Warrantless searches of property in control of the arrestee, at the time of an arrest, can be justified as incident to that arrest if the search is not remote in time or place from the arrest, or if an exigency exists. (People v. Ingham, supra at p. 331.) "Such searches may be made whether or not there is probable cause to believe the arrestee may have a weapon or is about to destroy evidence. 'The potential dangers lurking in all custodial arrests make warrantless searches of items within the "immediate control" area reasonable without requiring the arresting officer to calculate the probability that weapons or destructible evidence may be involved. . . .'" (Id. at pp. 330-331.) The " ' "search incident to arrest" rule has been interpreted to include a woman's purse as a normal extension of the person subject to search as an item "customarily carried by an arrested person . . . [and] within the area of her immediate control." (People v. Ingham, supra, 5 Cal. App. 4th at p. 331.) Incident to a lawful arrest, searches of backpacks and bags worn by arrestees at the time of arrest have been upheld in other jurisdictions. (People v. Boff (Colo. 1988) 766 P.2d 646, 648-649 [search of backpack], and cases cited therein; United States v. Litman (4th Cir. 1984) 739 F.2d 137, 139 [contemporaneous search of shoulder bag]; United States v. Mefford (8th Cir. 1981) 658 F.2d 588, 591-593 [contemporaneous search of brown paper bag]; Lee v. State (1988) 311 Md. 642 [537 A.2d 235, 239, 247-249] [contemporaneous search of gym bag]; Com. v. Madera (1988) 402 Mass. 156 [521 N.E.2d 738, 739-740] [contemporaneous search of gym bag]; Carrasco v. State (Tex. Crim. App. 1986) 712 S.W.2d 120, 121, 123 [contemporaneous search of "gym bag" or "overnight bag"].)