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What Does The Phrase Specific And Articulable Facts Mean?

In the course of a motion to suppress the physical evidence that is seized during a pat-down search (Terry stop), there will be a number of phrases that are thrown around the courtroom. One of those phrases is the requirement that the officer point to specific and articulable facts that support the officers decision to conduct a search of the suspect.

What does this mean? The officer must have more than a hunch, or gut-feeling, to conduct an investigative detention and search. The legal standard requires officers to have a reasonable belief that is based on specific and articulable facts. Thus, the officer, in a court of law, must be able to describe in detail what caused their officer ears to perk up and alert them to criminal activity. Generally, some of these factors are (1) flight; (2) suspicious movement; (3) threats and attempts to resist; and (4) intoxication.

If a person makes gestures that looks like he or she is engaging in the possession of a controlled substance, then that officer can conduct a frisk of the suspect. If the officer finds drugs on the suspect, that suspect needs to contact an experienced Plano drug crimes lawyer.