An Aggressive Litigator On Your Side

Can an officer stop and frisk someone in public?

Many adults in Ohio who are law-abiding citizens become incredibly nervous during an encounter with law enforcement officers. Police officers intimidate many people, which then compromises their ability to properly assert their rights.

Those who don’t know the rules about what police officers can and cannot do may give up their rights and put themselves in a position where they end up arrested and charged with a crime, even if they have done nothing wrong. Officers are often on the lookout for an excuse to arrest someone, yet they are bound to follow certain protocols before engaging in this conduct. Unfortunately, law enforcement officers don’t always honor these legal restrictions.

There is a strict standard for stop-and-frisk searches

Often, pat-down searches occur because someone gives up their rights. An officer asks if they can do a quick search, and the person stopped agrees because they want to be cooperative. However, police officers typically cannot search someone without their consent unless they have probable cause to suspect that there is a weapon present. Otherwise, it would be all too easy for officers to target people and search them without justification.

A suspicion of contraband, like drugs, is not sufficient reason to search someone if an officer isn’t already in a position to arrest them. Previously, Ohio courts have had to clarify this rule, informing police officers that they cannot pat someone down just because they put them in the back of a police vehicle.

There should be a credible suspicion of a weapon or permission for an officer to search someone’s body. Otherwise, a search will often occur after the individual enters state custody.

Fighting illegal searches can help criminal defendants

Those who have been accused of a crime often only have a few pieces of evidence tying them to the accusation. Oftentimes, if a defense attorney can challenge the inclusion of what an officer found in a stop-and-frisk or pat-down search, that may be the only physical evidence linking the defendant to the crime.

Working with a legal professional to exclude certain evidence by showing that police officers violated the law or someone’s civil rights to collect it can be a viable defense strategy for those who are facing criminal charges after an unexpected police encounter and physical search.