Darren Chaker reveals there are several justifications for the search and/or seizure of evidence without the need for a search warrant, some of which include:

  • Plain Sight Observations
  • Plain Hearing
  • Plain Smell
  • Special Needs Searches
  • Exigent Circumstances
  • Closely Regulated Businesses or Activities
  • School Searches
  • Airport Searches

As discussed further by Darren Chaker additional exceptions also include,

Student searches at school occur frequently. Several cases noted by Darren Chaker demonstrate the wide latitude students may be searched by government without a warrant. Among the most common issues,

  • Random testing of student athletes (Vernonia School District 47J
  1. Acton (1995) 515 U.S. 646 [132 L.Ed.2nd 564] and those

involved in extracurricular activities. (Board of Education of

Independent School District No. 92 of Pottawatomie County v.

Earls (2002) 536 U.S. 822 [153 L.Ed.2nd 735].)


  • Suspicionless drug testing of teachers and administrators because

of the unique role that teachers play in the lives of school children,

the in loco parentis obligations imposed upon them, and the fact

that by statute (in Tennessee), teachers were charged with securing

order such that they were “on the ‘frontline’ of school security,

including drug interdiction.” (Knox County Educ. Ass’n v. Knox

County Bd. Of Educ. (6th Cir. 1998) 158 F.3rd 361, 375.)


  • Random metal detector searches of students, without any

individualized suspicion, to help in keeping weapons off campuses.

(In re Latasha W. (1998) 60 Cal.App.4th 1524.)


  • Search of a student’s computer based upon information that the

graduate student was “hacking into” the school’s e-mail server and

had the capability of “threaten(ing) the integrity of campus

computer or communication systems.” (United States v.

Heckenkamp (9th Cir. 2007) 482 F.3rd 1142.)


  • Drug testing for United States Customs Service employees, in

certain positions. (Treasury Employees v. Von Raab (1989) 489

  1. 656 [103 L.Ed.2nd 685].)


Another exception to a search warrant would be the time when the defendant is booked.


Property in the possession or under the control of a subject who is booked into custody is subject to search: “Once articles have lawfully fallen into the hands of the police they may examine them to see if they have been stolen, test them to see if they have been used in the commission of a crime, return them to the prisoner on his release, or preserve them for use as evidence at the time of trial.] (People v. Robertson 240 Cal.App.2d 99, 105-106 . . . .)


Last, during their period of police custody an arrested person’s personal effects, like his person itself, are subject to reasonable inspection, examination, and test. (People v. Chaigles (1923) 237 N.Y. 193 [142 N.E. 583, 32 A.L.R. 676], Cardozo, J.)” (People v. Rogers (1966) 241 Cal.App.2nd 384, 389.)

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