Pat Down Searches / Frisk Pat Downs
Many cases are illegally made by the police when they conduct a frisk or pat down of a person. The police are not automatically authorized to conduct an involuntary pat down of a person. This situation often occurs during a traffic stop when the person is asked to get out of the car. First of all it must be understood that a pat down/frisk search is authorized only if the officer has reason to believe that the person is armed and dangerous which is rarely the case. So the officer cannot just start patting you down. That is why typically they ask "do you mind if you pat you down for my safety?" If you say "OK" then you have consented to a pat down search and you have given the officer a pass on the requirement that he has to have reason to believe you are armed and dangerous to conduct the pat down. If you have consented to the pat down the officer can feel around on your outer clothing only. He cannot go into your pockets unless he feels something like a weapon or contraband (gun, knife, baggy or a pipe). So DO NOT ever consent to a pat down search. If you consent to the pat down you are giving the officer a pass on having a real legal reason to search you. If the officer does not obtain your consent and does not have reason to believe you are armed and dangerous and he pats you down anyway and finds drugs the drugs should be thrown out of evidence resulting in a dismissal of the possession case. It needs to be pointed out that the "consent" to be valid must be shown to be voluntary and not the result of any coercion or duress on the part of the officer.