Many might have the misconception that police cannot search a person without
a warrant. However, in Texas, police search and frisks are completely
legal–a police officer can stop and search a person without probable
cause to do so. This was determined by the 1968 Terry v. Ohio case, and
as a result, a person can be stopped and temporarily detained if there
is a “reasonable suspicion” of criminal activity.
When and how can a person be searched?
If a police officer has a reasonable suspicion that a person has broken
the law and has factual evidence to support a stopped person is in possession
of a weapon, the police officer can begin a search. The police officer
will proceed to pat down the person outside of his/her clothes, to search
for a suspected weapon. If the police officer feels an object in a person’s
possession and believes it to be a weapon, the officer can then reach
inside the clothes to obtain it.
Can you just walk away?
If you are innocent and have not committed a crime, you may wish to simply
walk away from a police officer that has stopped to question you because
you did nothing wrong. In situations in which a police officer has no
reasonable suspicion, you could technically just walk away with no consequences.
However, there is no way to know if a police officer has a reasonable
suspicion that you have committed a crime, unless you are blatantly told.
For this reason, it is best to be cooperative with a police officer who
approaches you. If you truly have done nothing wrong, a police officer
will figure this out when you answer his/her questions.
Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have any questions about terry stops, search and frisks, or arrest,
do not hesitate to contact
Carroll Troberman, PLLC. Criminal defense
Blair Carroll and
Shelly Trobermanare compassionate and dedicated to ensuring your rights.