Bergen County NJ Illegal Search Defense Lawyers

A “Terry Stop”, also known as a Stop and Frisk:

Time and time again individuals find themselves being stopped and questioned by police, based on some alleged “suspicious” activity, which that individual may or may  have committed. Therefore, it is important for everyone to understand their rights, and to understand when their rights have been violated. In New Jersey, an officer is allowed to briefly detain an individual, when the purpose of the brief detention, is to investigate suspicious conduct. Basically, if an officer observes you committing any type of suspicious conduct, they are able to stop you for a brief period of time to further investigate that particular conduct. Furthermore, the officers are also granted the right to pat-down and frisk your persons for weapons. The frisk for weapons has been justified to protect the police. However, this conduct is not without limits and certain procedure must be followed before it will be concluded a valid terry stop.

What Makes a Terry Stop Valid?

For a Terry Stop to be considered valid, the police need to have what has been phrased as “reasonable articulable suspicion”. Reasonable suspicion does not rise to the level of probable cause, however, their needs to be a particular basis for suspecting that this individual has committed some type of criminal activity. Also, the pat-down is designed to discover guns, knives, clubs, or other hidden instruments that could be used to assault an officer. Fortunately, it is not uncommon for a police officer to go too far in their pat-down in an attempt to try to discover other possible contraband on the individual. This type of activity is prohibited and an officer is required to follow the correct procedure otherwise they could run afoul to the Terry Search. In addition, reasonable suspicion has been a very debated issue over years. The courts have never been able to accurately define the scope of what conduct rises to the level of reasonable suspicion. Therefore, this conduct needs to be examined by a well trained illegal search defense attorney. You need to have an experienced defense attorney examine the evidence to make sure that the police did in fact have a reasonable suspicion to stop and frisk you.

Bergen County New Jersey Illegal Search Defense Attorneys

An unlawful Terry Search could lead to an unlawful arrest. If the court determines that an illegal search and seizure occurred, the judge must suppress the illegally obtained evidence and as a result most of the time, the prosecution is forced to dismiss the pending charges. Since the courts have never been able to clearly define what reasonable suspicion is, there is a lot of litigation over these types of stops. Therefore, it is important for you to consult with an experienced Bergen County criminal attorney who will be able to guide you through this complex issue. Remember, an invalid Terry Stop can lead with a dismissal of all criminal charges. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-682-4037 and speak to one of our experienced criminal attorneys.