The law behind “stop and frisk” can be particularly important for those who have been charged with any type of drug offense.

Why? The stop and frisk may have been unlawful. But what exactly is stop and frisk?

The stop and frisk law is also called Terry stop.

In basic terms, an individual can be detained based on a reasonable suspicion that he or she was involved in some level or type of criminal activity. The reasons for the detainment must be specific and must be able to be articulated. It is not enough to say that there was a vibe or gut feeling about someone, or that they looked “shady” or otherwise suspicious.

Once detained, a person’s outer garments may be “patted down” for weapons if the police believe there is suspicion-hence the name stop and frisk. If other contraband besides weapons is found, it can be seized as well if it’s in “plain view” and used as evidence against that person in a court of law.

However, if police did not have reasonable suspicion to detain an individual, any evidence confiscated may not be admissible in court. And, as a result, the charges against the person will likely be dismissed.

Those with questions about their own detainment are encouraged to reach out to a criminal defense attorney who can analyze individual situations is advised, particularly if the seizure of drug or other paraphernalia involved a traffic stop.

A lawyer can explain the law in greater detail and determine whether police followed proper procedures or violated constitutionally protected rights.