Stop and Frisk

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  • A type of warrantless search conducted in a public place when a law enforcement officer does not have probable cause to arrest a person but is suspicious enough, based on the person's behavior, to stop and search the person. Frisking is patting down the clothing of a person for the purpose of searching for a concealed weapon. Frisking falls under the Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful search and seizure. A law enforcement officer must have an articulable reason for conducting the stop and frisk, which is a lesser standard than probable cause. The standard was established in Terry v. Ohio (1968). For more information, see Terry v. Ohio (1968).

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