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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23948
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Im checking out of my motel r oom. I exit the room with my

Customer Question

im checking out of my motel r oom . I exit the room with my back facing the outside I close the door turn around and there is a sheriff dep standing there. he asks what am I doing, I tell him checking out of my room. he tells me to take my hands out ofbmy pockets.and then asks do I have any weapons.we are about 10 ft from my room about 2 ft from my car. he then has me put my hands on the hood of bhis car spreds my legs. I asked him several times what did I do wrong he states nothing just going to make sure you have no weapons on you I tell him I don't he searches me and finds a meth pipe and about 1/10 of a gram of meth im charged with poss. of meth. how can he just search me like that
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

"What have you tried?" just asks you to explain what other steps you may have taken so that I don't waste your time and mine giving you information that you already know.

If you were charged with possession of paraphernalia and possession of meth and you wish to fight the case, your lawyer would get to have a hearing designed to explore whether the officer had the right to stop you and to search you. If the search is improper and your attorney wins the hearing, the drugs and pipe would be suppressed. By that I mean they could not be used as evidence against you. That would be the whole case, right there, which could be dismissed.

In general, in order to stop a person on the street, the police need some kiind of an articulable suspicion that something is amiss. They don't need anything as concrete as probable cause for an arrest to stop you. But they do need to have some basis for the stop that they could put into words.

Then they are allowed to briefly detain you to obtain information and pat you down for their safety to check for weapons. If the police exceed the scope of a stop and frisk, they would need probable cause and either a warrant or an exception to the warrant requirement to go further. So you may have a real search and seizure issue here. However, the case would continue to go forward until the police activity could be challenged at a hearing, because the US Supreme Court says that 4th Amendment violations must be explored in full at a pre-trial suppression hearing.