Laws Concerning Stop and Frisk

4th Change DefensesThe 4th Change to the United States Constitution mentions that every American citizen shall be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. This typically indicates that an individual cannot be searched or have his/her belongings took without a warrant or without a specific exception. One such exception is the stop and frisk rule.


What Stop and Frisk Is

A stop and frisk is when a police officer momentarily detains an individual who she or he thinks is suspicious. To protect the officer’s safety, the officer is permitted to briefly frisk the individual for weapons.

History of Stop and Frisk

In 1968, the Supreme Court of the United States held that law enforcement could stop and frisk people in particular scenarios. These circumstances consist of if the law enforcement officer has a sensible suspicion that the person will dedicate a criminal activity or that the individual might have dangerous weapons on his or her individual.

The choice was made in the case of Terry v. Ohio. The court recognized the unsafe nature of a law enforcement officer’s job and the vigilance of providing a basic technique to make a confrontation with an unknown suspect more secure for the officer and the public. This procedure is also referred to as a “Terry stop” after the case name.

Sensible Suspicion

Much of the controversy concerning stop and frisk is figuring out when there is reasonable suspicion. A law enforcement officer may specify that a person is suspicious because he or she is extremely psychological, appears drunk, is fearful or is angry.

Police officers may likewise depend upon information about the environments to explain their affordable suspicion of the suspect. Such scenarios may include the suspect existing by a crime scene, moving in a suspicious manner or fleing from somebody. An individual can likewise be legally stopped if she or he matches the description of a desired felon.


If reasonable suspicion does exist, the law enforcement officer can stop the suspect. Some stops include a show of force, such as the law enforcement officer ordering the suspect to stop and sometimes even physically requiring the suspect to stop. A police officer may also perform a drop in showing his or her authority, such as by displaying a badge, giving the suspect a particular look or using specific demeanor to perform the stop.


Warranted Frisks

An individual can be stopped without also being frisked. A frisk includes a police officer patting down a based on figure out if he or she is bringing any weapons. The reason for a frisk is to make the law enforcement feel more comfortable so that he or she knows that the suspect will not have the ability to hurt them with a concealed weapon.

A frisk is likewise indicated to safeguard the other citizens in the vicinity. A frisk can likewise be used to identify if an individual is bringing drugs. If the law enforcement officer can inherently identify that the item being patted is clearly drugs without needing to manipulate the item in any way, the item can be seized. This is based upon the “plain feel” teaching.

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