The United States Constitution protects the citizens of the United States against unreasonable searches and seizures via Suppression Motions. Although the Fourth Amendment mentions the need for a warrant in order to perform a search, under certain circumstances a warrant is not required. An attorney may file Suppression Motions to try and keep out evidence. One of these circumstances is regarding the stop-and-frisk law. The stop-and-frisk law, Miranda Rights under the Fourth Amendment, does not require that a police officer acquires a warrant before performing a stop-and-frisk. By giving police officers the power to stop-and-frisk, they are able to deter crime by catching potential criminals before the commission of a crime has even occurred. The purpose of the stop-and-frisk law is to keep officers safe and to deter crime.
The US Supreme Court Case Terry v. Ohio is the case known for determining the circumstances of the stop-and-frisk law. In Terry v. Ohio, a stop is defined as “an encounter in which police restrict a suspect’s freedom to walk away”. The Supreme Court defined a frisk as “a carefully limited search for weapons, limited to someone’s outer clothing”. In order for a Terry stop to be justified, police must have a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity may be afoot. Not every Terry stop is followed by a frisk. In order for a police officer to justify a frisk, he must have reasonable suspicion that criminal activity may be afoot, along with a reasonable suspicion that the person stopped may be armed and dangerous.
Although the stop-and-frisk law was created in order to keep police officers safe, police are allowed to confiscate contraband other than weapons. The court has determined that an officer may seize an object if “plain touch”, during a frisk, reveals presence of an object an officer has probable cause to believe is contraband. Suppression Motions If a police officer does not have a reasonable suspicion to stop-and-frisk you, he may ask you for consent to search. In this situation, you are not obligated to give an officer your consent for a search. If you have questions regarding a stop-and-frisk incident, it is best to contact a criminal defense attorney. A criminal defense attorney will be able to assess the circumstances of your stop-and-frisk and determine the constitutionality of it.