Thank you for asking me “What is a Terry Stop?”
Terry Stops are also known as “Stop and Frisks”… and in FL they are codified in FS 901.151, FL’s Stop & Frisk Law.
In a nutshell this procedure give cops a mechanism to temporarily detain, and in some circumstances to even conduct a limited search (we call it an “outer garment pat down”) of objectively suspicious persons.
The rule is designed to strike a reasonable balance between curbing overzealous cops from violating citizens 4 amendment rights while also protecting society from those who present a clear and immediate danger.
The requirements are simple and 3-fold: 1) A police officer must subjectively believe that a particular person is committing, is about to commit or has just committed a crime and 2) The officer must be able to articulate her/his belief and 3) The belief must be objectively reasonable (meaning the Jane or Joe Average cop, knowing what that officer knew at that time, would agree that the person in question was, at the time committing, about to commit or had just committed a crime).
If this is the case then the cop can detain you, temporarily, and ask you questions in an effort to either confirm or dispel her/his reasonable suspicion (naturally you are free NOT to answer) and only if the officer reasonably believes that you are armed and dangerous can s/he conduct a “limited pat-down of your outer garments”.
If the cop exceeds the scope of either the temporary detention or the limited pat down then it is not a Terry Stop and it is more likely a full blown arrest (which requires the higher burden of probable cause).
At Michael A. Haber, PA “it’s all about reasonable doubt”!
Please note that no attorney-client relationship with either Michael A. Haber, PA or Michael A. Haber, Esq. exists as a result of your watching this Webisode series. Further any and all information which is both contained in and may be construed from this Webisode series is generic in nature and should only be considered as informational and not as actual legal advise in any specific case. Should you wish to seek actual legal advise then please feel free to contact Michael A. Haber, Esq. as follows:
Office Phone: 305-381-8686
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