The short answer is no. Under the Constitution, in order for a police officer to stop you or to detain you or restrain your movement in any way, they have to have what’s called a reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime or that you’re about to commit a crime. Often times they’ll request that you stop. “Hey, can you come here for a second?” If you do that, then that’s what’s called a consensual encounter. It’s very different than saying, “Hey you, stop. I want to talk to you.”

As far as a pat-down goes, they can’t do that without your permission or without some sort of, again, reasonable suspicion that you’re armed or have a weapon or something like that. Absent of those things, a lot of officers just tend to do that routinely, pat you down just for the heck of it. That’s not allowed and not lawful, but knowing your rights and being able to exercise them are two different things. You should be respectful and cooperate with the police to the extent that your rights permit, but make sure that whenever you’re in a situation where you do not give consent to search, that you make that lack of consent or that you told them no, very clear to them.

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Albritton Law Firm | 23 Harrison Avenue | Panama City, FL 32401 | Phone: | (850)215-0200