Fourth Amendment: Stop and Frisk

Stop & Frisk:  Another Form of Warrantless Search

This chapter concerns the law enforcement tactic known as “stop and frisk.” Although such conduct is less invasive than an arrest, the “stop” is nonetheless a seizure that must be “reasonable” to be lawful under the Fourth Amendment. The “frisk” is a search that also must be reasonable to be lawful.

Our reading will review (1) the basic definition of “stop and frisk” and the Court’s justification for allowing it absent probable cause, (2) the difference between a stop and frisk and a full arrest (which requires probable cause), and (3) what police may do during a “Terry stop,” as these stops and frisks have come to be known.

We begin with Terry v. Ohio, which sets forth the doctrine permitting “stop and frisk” in some circumstances and which has given its name to the practice. 


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Criminal Procedure: Undergraduate Edition Copyright © 2022 by Christopher E. Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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