While the fourth amendment does not make a warrant mandatory for all searches, it does require that all searches meet the test of reasonableness. The search incident to a lawful arrest is one of the well-established exceptions to the warrant requirement. The incidental search doctrine and the exclusionary rule were first discussed by the United States Supreme Court in Weeks v. United States. The Supreme Court's failure to enunciate definitive standards in defining the permissible scope of a search incident to an arrest has created numerous problems for the courts and police. The limitations on the permissible scope of a search incident to an arrest have been erratic, but the most recent decisions narrowed its scope.
Search and Seizure- Permissible Scope of a Search Incident to a Valid Custodial Arrest,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol8/iss3/9