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Terry Stops in Texas

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 attorneys Blair Carroll and Shelly Trobermanare compassionate and dedicated to ensuring your rights.