Arizona Criminal Law on When You Are Frisked?

A pat-down, which is also known as a frisk done by law enforcement, is designed to be less intrusive than a full-body search. The frisk is conducted to ensure that the officer is safe by making sure the suspect is not armed with weapons and no dangers are lurking. The Legal Information Institute of Cornell University describes a pat-down as one where police perform a pat-down of the suspect’s outer clothing to check for concealed weapons, such as guns or knives. So, what says Arizona criminal law on when you are frisked?

Arizona Criminal Law on When You Are Frisked by Police – Is It Constitutional?

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from unlawful searches and seizures. Frisk searches performed by police are included in this. Federal and State Courts have held that a two-prong test must be met for a police frisk to be constitutional. A person can be legally frisked by police when two factors are in existence.

  • There is reason to believe that he person is involved in criminal activity.
  • There is reason to believe an individual is armed and dangerous.

The suspicions must be based on objective, individualized, and clearly articulatable facts. Just a hunch or a guess does not qualify for a pat-down or frisking. While probable cause is required to arrest someone, not as much evidence is required to meet the demands of reasonable suspicion. Courts have upheld that when it is decided as to whether a law enforcement has reasonable suspicion of criminal activity involvement, all of the circumstances surrounding the incident in question should be fully considered.

Just Because I Live In An Arizona High-Crime Neighborhood Can Police Frisk Me?

Based on the Arizona criminal law on when you are frisked, Arizona police have no right and no grounds to frisk you because you live in a neighborhood with a higher crime rate. There must be additional reason to suspect there is criminal behavior, and this evidence must warrant search by frisking. To determine if a frisking is warranted, there must be reasonable suspicion within the control of that person and specific to the individual in question. Your surroundings or the environment, such as your community, is not in your control.

What Is The Overview Of Arizona Supreme Court Opinion?

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled on a case where they considered the reasonable suspicion is needed for frisk to be justified. The case originated when four men were talking by an apartment complex when they were approached by five police officers in a neighborhood with a high crime rate. The police were looking for a suspect who had an outstanding warrant and who was suspected to have been selling weapons. The four men encountered by the police officers were not suspected of crimes and were none were the man that the officers were looking for.

arizona criminal law on when you are friskedSurveillance cameras were in use outside the apartment building and the officers noted that. Two of the officers approached the men and identified themselves. Police noticed one of the men appearing nervous and he ran away. Officers chased that man while the three other men stayed on the scene. Police noted that the defendant in question did not appear to have a weapon or appear nervous and remained seated calmly holding a baby on his lap. At this time, the police said they would frisk the remaining men. At this time, one man handed over marijuana. As the frisk searches were conducted, no weapons were found.

During the search, police found marijuana in one man’s pocket. He was charged with possession of marijuana. In court, the defendant asked that the evidence be suppressed because the marijuana was discovered during a search that was unlawful. The trial court said police had reason to suspect a crime was in progress and denied the motion to suppress, and the Arizona Court of Appeals confirmed that conviction. However, the Arizona Supreme Court determined there was a showing of criminal activity but the defendant did not have control of the environment and there wasn’t facts to show reasonable suspicion and the decision was reversed. If you are facing Arizona criminal charges because of frisk search that you believe was illegal, you should consult with an Arizona criminal law attorney.