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Can Police Pat You Down or Search You?

Most police encounters involve someone being ordered out of a car or stopped on the street and then patted down by the police officer. This happens far more often than it should. While it is legal in some situations, more often than not, this is an illegal search.

If you believe your rights were violated or if you were charged with a crime contact Boria Law today! (734) 453-7806. 

If police have illegally searched you and that illegal search turns up evidence of a crime such as drugs, or weapons, the remedy for evidence found from an illegal search is suppression. Supposed evidence cannot be used against you at trial. 

Are Police Allowed to Pat Me Down?

The United States Supreme Court ruled that a police officer may conduct a pat-down search of you as long as the officer has reasonable suspicion that you are armed. The officer must be able to point at specific facts as to why he gave you a pat down. If the officer simply pats down every driver he pulls out of the car or every person he speaks with on the street he has violated the law. The case that establishes this law is Terry v Ohio, 392 US 1 (1968), which is why this type of police activity is often referred to as a Terry stop.

Are Police Allowed to Search Me?

Often times, during a Terry stop the police will find other items that could not reasonably be used to assault an officer, but could be used to charge you with a crime, such as illegal drugs, prescription drugs you shouldn’t have, or even a pipe if the police officer decides to accuse you of the pipe being illegal drug paraphernalia.

If police are performing a legal pat down while looking for a weapon on a person they believe to be dangerous, and feel something that is immediately apparent to be incriminating they could arrest you for the illegal object. The officer may not manipulate that object in any way or move it around in the person’s pocket to try to see what it is. It is also illegal for an officer to just stick his hands in someone’s pocket without first performing a legal pat down.

Obtaining police video can have a major impact on an illegal search scenario.

Illegal Search By Police Results in Suppression of Evidence

If a judge determines that the pat down or the search was illegal then any evidence recovered as a result of the illegal stop would be suppressed. If the evidence is suppressed than the charges would likely be dropped because the evidence is no longer admissible and the prosecutor will not be able to go forward.

If you have been charged with a crime contact Michigan criminal lawyer, Aaron J. Boria today. We know the law, we fight for our clients, and we get results! Call (734) 453-7806 today for a free consultation.