Administrative search

Definition
: an inspection or search carried out under a regulatory or statutory scheme esp. in public or commercial premises and usu. to enforce compliance with regulations or laws pertaining to health, safety, or security <one of the fundamental principles of administrative searches is that the government may not use an administrative inspection scheme as a pretext to search for evidence of criminal violations ­People v. Madison, 520 N.E.2d 374 (1988)>
see also probable cause at cause
The U.S. Supreme Court held in Camara v. Municipal Court, 387 U.S. 523 (1967), that a reasonable administrative search may be conducted upon a showing of probable cause which is less stringent than that required for a search incident to a criminal investigation. The Court stated that the reasonableness of the search can only be determined by «balancing the need to search against the invasion which the search entails." Cases following Camara have stated that the probable cause requirement is fulfilled by showing that the search meets reasonable administrative standards established in a nonarbitrary regulatory scheme.



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Based on Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©2001.
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