A Las Vegas Criminal Defense Lawyer Unveils Rules for Police Searches of Suspects in Nevada NRS 171.1232

If police suspect you of wrongdoing, you can be detained. Nevada rules specify when you can be detained and for how long. The Nevada rules of criminal procedure also provide details on when you can be searched by a law enforcement officer who has detained you.  If you are searched unlawfully or if an officer violates any of your constitutional rights, evidence obtained during the illegal search cannot be presented by a prosecutor with the goal of getting a conviction. The ability to have evidence suppressed makes it very important to understand whether proper protocols were followed.

At LV Criminal Defense, our legal team has made itself very familiar with rules related to the detainment, arrest, and search of suspects. Our Las Vegas defense attorneys look hard for any violations of the law so we can keep evidence from being used against you. Our goal is to make it as hard as possible for the prosecutor to make a case against you, or to get a conviction.  Give us a call as soon as you can when you have an encounter with the police so we can begin looking out for your rights and conducting an investigation into your case right away.

Can Police Search You When You Are Being Detained?

Nevada Revised Statute 171.123 gives a law enforcement officer the right to detain you if there is reasonable cause to suspect you have broken the law, are in the process of committing a criminal act, or are currently in violation of parole or probation.  You can be detained only for a maximum of 60 minutes or for long enough for the officer to consider any suspicious circumstances related to your presence abroad.  The officer can ask for ID, but cannot make you go anywhere while you are detained without arresting you first.

If you are being detained subject to N.R.S. 171.123, there are circumstances under which the officer is permitted to conduct a limited search. N.R.S. 171.1232 indicates that a peace officer can conduct a search when you are being detained IF:

  • The officer reasonably believes you are armed with a dangerous weapon AND
  • The officer reasonably believes that you are a threat to his or her safety.

If the officer conducts a search and finds either evidence of a crime or a weapon, the weapon and evidence can be seized.  However, nothing that is seized by a police officer in any search in connection with you being detained is admissible unless the search was conducted in compliance with rules set forth in N.R.S. 171.1232.

What Should You Do If You Were Searched?

If you were searched and a weapon or evidence of a crime was found, you should contact LV Criminal Defense to find out if the evidence collected can be suppressed. If it is suppressed, the prosecutor is not permitted to use it to create reasonable cause to press charges or to secure a conviction.

Top Rated Criminal Lawyer

Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.


Your criminal defense lawyer will carefully review the circumstances under which you were detained to determine if the officer had probable cause and acted appropriately. If there were no grounds for you to be detained in the first place, then there was no legitimate reason for a search and no evidence obtained during the search can be used against you.  If there were grounds to be detained but there was no reason to believe you had a weapon or were a threat, then the search was still illegally and the resulting evidence can’t be used.

Contact a Las Vegas Defense Attorney Today

Nicholas Wooldridge and his team of outstanding attorneys has helped many clients to successfully avoid having evidence used against them that was discovered when they were unlawfully detained or unlawfully searched. Give us a call as soon as possible so we can carefully review all of your interactions with a law enforcement officer and look for ways to keep incriminating evidence from being used to threaten your future.