When can officers STOP AND FRISK?

By: Wallin & Klarich

Police officers are entitled to stop and detain an individual for investigation, when the police officer has REASONABLE SUSPICION to believe that criminal activity may be afoot and the individual may be connected to such activity. To justify a STOP AND FRISK the officers do NOT need PROBABLE CAUSE. These “STOPS” should be relatively short, noninvasive, and place-specific.

There are several exceptions to the normal framework of REASONABLE SUSPICION. These include: ordering passengers of a car after stopping the driver, detaining at DUI checkpoints regardless of having any individualized suspicion they are breaking the law, and expanding the normal limited scope of detentions at international borders.

Once an officer validly STOPS someone for an investigative detention, this does NOT automatically enable the officer to “FRISK” or pat down the individual. The officer must have an articulable basis for thinking the person may be armed and dangerous. Only upon this basis can an officer engage in a limited search of the outer clothing.

It is often difficult to determine whether a STOP AND FRISK was in fact valid. If you have any questions or concerns immediately contact an experienced California criminal defense lawyer at Wallin & Klarich at (877) 4-NO-JAIL for more information.

Posted In: Law & Information