Panama City, FL asked in Criminal Law for Florida

Q: What is search and seizure patdown improper

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2 Lawyer Answers
Henry George Ferro
Henry George Ferro
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Ocala, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Your question does not provide sufficient information to give a proper analysis...

Jonathan Blecher
Jonathan Blecher
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Miami, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: For their protection, police officers are permitted to make fast surface scans and searches of a suspect's outer clothing for weapons during pat downs. Pat downs are permissible if the officer has reasonable suspicion that the suspect has a weapon. That reasonable suspicion is required to be founded on specific, articulable facts known to the officer, and not simply a hunch or gut feeling. This type of pat down is now called a "stop and frisk" or "Terry stop" in many jurisdictions. The constitutional origin and basis for police protective searches stems from the U.S. Supreme Court case of Terry v. Ohio (392 U.S. 1 (1968).

The decision stood for the proposition that police protective searches were legitimate and constitutional, as it established justifications for the searches in the jurisprudence. Specifically, the supreme court held in Terry that the Fourth Amendment's bar on unreasonable searches and seizures is not violated by the police when they stop a suspect and pat down that suspect without probable cause to arrest him or her, so long as the police have a reasonable suspicion that the suspect committed, is committing, or committed an offense, and the officer has a reasonable belief that the suspect might be dangerously armed.

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