Stop and Frisk or Pat Down – When Can It Occur?

A police officer has three opportunities to perform a search (or a stop and frisk or pat down) on an individual:

(1) A Search Warrant,

(2) Consent, or

(3) A Search After Arrest.

All three ways or opportunities to search are fairly straight-forward. However, each way has possible defenses, which can in-turn affect the ultimate outcome of the legality of the search performed.

But this article is not here to explain those three ways to perform a search on a person; rather, what I will discuss is when a Stop and Frisk or pat down can occur. It has been determined and found that this brief detention and limited “search” does not violate an individual’s right to privacy.

The United States Supreme Court has explained police are legally allowed to stop an individual and briefly detain you to inquire about name and address (or identification). To hold an individual longer or not allow them to leave would be construed as a custodial detention, and thus begin the invocation of privacy rights (such as the right against self-incrimination). This also brings about the requirement of Miranda Warnings. This can be a complex area of the law; therefore, it is advisable to simply provide your name and address, proceed to end the conversation, and if you are not free to leave invoke your rights to counsel and silence.

But what about a Terry Stop and Frisk or Pat Down? The truth is a Terry Stop and Frisk or Pat Down can only occur if the police are able to articulate reasonable suspicion that you are carrying a weapon. This is a very low threshold; however, merely stating a need of safety without being able to articulate facts indicating a present danger is not enough to perform a Stop and Frisk or Pat Down.

If the officers insist on searching you DO NOT RESIST. Simply and calmly state that you do not consent to the search (Stop and Frisk or Pat Down). Make your refusal known, but do not create more problems with the officer.

Following these tips will provide counsel with the best possible outcome when it comes to conduct that leads to police encounters. Know the law, maintain your rights, and lawyer-up with Josh Jones. He provides a full-service criminal defense law firm, specializing in marijuana laws.

DO NOT RELY ON THESE LEGAL OPINIONS AND OBSERVATIONS WHEN REPRESENTING YOURSELF IN COURT. THESE ARTICLES ARE NOT MEANT TO COMPENSATE OR REPLACE LEGAL REPRESENTATION. YOU SHOULD AND MUST ALWAYS CONTACT AN ATTORNEY AND DISCUSS WITH HIM OR HER THE CONSEQUENCES OF ANY AND ALL IDEAS, STATEMENTS, OPINIONS, EXPRESSIONS OR OTHERWISE STATED ON THIS SITE. ALWAYS LAWYER-UP.

About Josh Jones

Josh Jones is an experienced and professional Michigan Criminal Defense attorney presenting Metro Detroit, Genesee County, Livingston County, Lapeer County, and others throughout the State of Michigan. He is available 7-days a week and handles all felonies, misdemeanors, probation violations, traffic tickets, and drivers license restoration. Josh is only a phone call away and is here to help when you are involved with the criminal justice system.