During this political season, you may hear the terms “Stop and Frisk” mentioned by the two candidates for President of the United States. This term as it is used by the candidates refers to the practice implemented by the New York Police department that began in 2002. A Federal judge ruled this practice unconstitutional in 2013. The ruling hinged largely on this practice being a form of “indirect racial profiling.”
While this practice was struck down in New York, police officers all across Texas legally have the ability to “frisk” those that they come into contact. A “frisk” is a pat down outside your clothes by a police officer, typically done to search for or “feel” weapons. If a police officer lawfully stops an individual due to obtaining reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is occurring, they can frisk an individual if they have suspicion that an individual is carrying a weapon. This is often referred to a “Terry frisk” made famous by the Supreme Court’s opinion in Terry v Ohio. If a police officer has an independent suspicion that an individual is carrying a weapon they can frisk a person for officer safety. This frisk is merely for the existence of a weapon, not an opportunity for the officer to search an individual’s pockets for contraband other than a weapon.
Officer will often frisk and individual in a traffic stop, again for officer safety.
If an officer’s search is illegal, done without probable cause or reasonable suspicion it can lead to a dismissed charge or reduced charge depending on the circumstances. If you or a loved one has been charged with an offense and believe an officer’s behavior was inappropriate or not reasonable, it is important to consult an experienced Tarrant County defense attorney.
The team of attorneys at Tarrant County based Townsend, Gebhardt, & Eppes, PLLC are former state prosecutors. They possess the skill and experience to build the strongest defense on your behalf. Contact Townsend, Gebhardt, & Eppes, PLLC at (817) 502-3600 for a free initial consultation.
Townsend, Gebhardt, & Eppes, PLLC strongly defend individuals throughout the greater Fort Worth area, including Arlington, Weatherford, Cleburne, and many surrounding communities.