Law enforcement has a limited right to stop people on the street and frisk them. Learn about how the police can use certain types of evidence as a way to search people out in public.
Arrest vs. Detention: How to Tell Whether You’ve Been Arrested or Simply Detained
You’re walking down the street when a police officer orders you to halt and begins asking you questions. You’re pretty sure that you’re not free to leave.
When Police May Stop Someone on the Street
A police officer's hunch that something is afoot is not enough.
The Difference Between a Police "Search" and a Police "Frisk"
A search is more extensive than a frisk--but the line can be hard to draw.
Limits to Frisks by Police Officers
An officer who has a reasonable suspicion that you have committed or are in the process of committing a crime h
Police Detentions Based on Anonymous Tips
Some folks just don't want to get involved. They know of criminal activity and are willing to report it, but they don't want to experience any blowback.
Police Detentions Based on Mistakes of Fact and Mistakes of Law
Suppose you haven’t broken any law, but an officer nevertheless detains you.
What is reasonable suspicion?
Reasonable suspicion is a legal standard that applies in different criminal-law contexts, most often where search
What’s the Difference Between an Arrest and a Detention?
Even without suspicion of wrongdoing, a police officer can approach someone and begin a conversation without violating the Fourth Amendment.
Can I ignore a police officer’s order to stop?
You’re taking a coffee break, strolling to the local café. For some reason unknown to you, a uniformed officer down the block yells at you to stop. Do you have to obey?
If you hand your ID over to an officer, have you been detained?
You’re walking down the street. An officer approaches you, asks you how you’re doing, and casually requests to see your ID. Have you been detained?
Is a detention due to an officer’s misunderstanding of the law constitutional?
Suppose a police officer notices a driver with a brake light out. The officer stops the driver for violation of the vehicle code, which he thinks requires two operational brake lights.
Can the police seize something I threw away?
Throwing evidence away, in view of a police officer, is an invitation to sieze it.
Can the police constantly stop me because of how I look?
Police may not use "stop & frisk" as a ruse to harass people.