The police need reasonable articulable suspicion of criminal activity to stop a person and need to have additional reasonable suspicion that they may be armed to frisk the outer portion of their clothing to check for weapons. The police can only pull out an item if it is immediately identifiable to be a weapon or illegal contraband. Post Arrest a full search is Constitutional.
No, probable cause is required to arrest or search. Stop and frisk is a search for weapons only, when a police officer has reason to believe that a person is armed and dangerous. This might seem like splitting hairs, because either way an officer is putting his or her hands on a person, but it matters.
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Probable cause is not needed for a stop and frisk. Stop and frisk is a rule for the safety of the officer to search for weapons.
Answers to questions are not legal advice but information for general use only and do not form an attorney-client relationship.
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