Florida’s Stop and Frisk law
The concept of stop and frisk was cemented into U.S. law in the landmark Supreme Court Case Terry v. Ohio. In Terry, the officer witnessed two men “casing a job.” Suspecting that the men were about to commit a crime, the officer approached them, identified himself as a policeman, and asked their names. When the men wouldn’t answer the officer’s questions, he patted down the outer clothing of the two men and seized a revolver from one of their outer pockets. He did not put his hands under the outer garments of the other man, since he discovered nothing in his pat-down which might have been a weapon.
The Supreme Court held that where a reasonably prudent officer is warranted in the circumstances of a given case in believing that his safety or that of others is endangered, he may make a reasonable search for weapons of the person believed by him to be armed and dangerous regardless of whether he has probable cause to arrest that individual for crime or the absolute certainty that the individual is armed
How Stop and Frisk works in Florida
Whenever any law enforcement officer of this state encounters any person under circumstances which Reasonably indicate (reasonable suspicion) that such person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a violation of the criminal laws, the officer may temporarily detain such person (Investigatory Stop) for the purpose of ascertaining the identity of the person temporarily detained and the circumstances surrounding the person’s presence abroad which led the officer to believe that the person had committed, was committing, or was about to commit a criminal offense
No person shall be temporarily detained longer than is reasonably necessary to effect the purposes mentioned above.
Such temporary detention shall not extend beyond the place where it was first effected or the immediate vicinity thereof.
Whenever any law enforcement officer authorized to detain temporarily any person has probable cause to believe that any person whom the officer has temporarily detained, or is about to detain temporarily, is armed with a dangerous weapon and therefore offers a threat to the safety of the officer or any other person, the officer may search such person so temporarily detained only to the extent necessary to disclose, and for the purpose of disclosing, the presence of such weapon. If such a search discloses such a weapon or any evidence of a criminal offense it may be seized.
No evidence seized by a law enforcement officer in any search under this section shall be admissible against any person in any court of this state or political subdivision thereof unless the search which disclosed its existence was authorized by and conducted in compliance with the provisions of the subsections above.
Criminal defense attorney David S. Cronin has represented thousands of clients in cases ranging from misdemeanor assault to major felony offenses. David Cronin has been practicing law throughout Florida for two decades – working directly with people who are facing harsh penalties for mistakes they wish they could undo.
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