Been Stopped And Frisked By Police? Know Your Rights!

4 July 2018
 Categories: , Blog


Have you been subjected to a stop and frisk by the police? Are there charges pending as a result? If so, you need to contact criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer is the best source of information on how to proceed with your case.

In general, your legal representative will probably begin by questioning the stated reasons for the so-called police "pat down." Officers are only supposed to conduct such searches for certain prescribed reasons. If they cannot prove that the frisk was within the scope of the regulations, any evidence obtained can be thrown out by a judge. Consequently, you have the chance of then having the entire case against you dismissed as well.

Reasons for Frisks

Police conduct frisks presumably to ensure their safety. However, in reality, officers may search you to find illegal objects that lead to an arrest.

Many legal scholars and civil liberties advocates see frisks as invasive. Yet, stop and frisks are constitutional across the nation. Police in the field avail themselves of these searches quite often, perhaps assuming that most criminal defendants have little knowledge of their rights.

To be constitutionally valid, a search must meet two tests. Both state and federal courts have decided police can legally frisk a person on the "streets" when:

1. There is a reasonable suspicion the defendant is involved in criminal behavior.

2. There is a reasonable belief the defendant possesses a dangerous weapon.

Application of the Law

Obviously, it is your word against that of the arresting officer. They will usually claim that you certainly seemed to be involved in criminal activity and that you truly appeared to be armed. So, taking their word at face value, every frisk would be admissible.

The courts thus apply an objectivity test to further nuance the above-required factors. "Suspicion" must be based on your unique situation rather than generalized. For example, officers may try to claim that you were suspicious because of your surroundings. Perhaps there had been lots of crime in your neighborhood as of late.

Your criminal defense attorney can argue that this fact alone should not pass legal scrutiny. You cannot control all the criminal activity in your proximity. The police may have to further prove that you specifically did something during their stop to warrant their suspicions. 

Get Legal Advice 

Do not hesitate to contact a lawyer about your police search. Unchallenged, the officers can make a persuasive case of the legality of their frisk.

Your compassionate criminal defense attorneys will force the police to demonstrate what specific things you did or said that led them to believe you were both involved in a crime and had a weapon on your person. Absent of such proof, your entire case may be dismissed for lack of evidence.