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Thread: How do you respond when pulled over?

  1. #1
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    Just wanted to get a feel for people's attitudes on this. I've heard you have to tell the cop right off that you are packing. Does anyone have any stories about this, or know more about the law? I'm in Wyoming, but it might be a federal deal.

    For now I plan to tell the officer (If I get pulled over) that I am carrying a gun, while having both hands on the steering wheel. I would do this in case he asked me to get out of the car, and got surprised. I don't want to get shot, or be uncooperative. If a cop is reasonable with me, I'll do everything I can to make his job easier, so long as that doesn't include voluntarily giving up any rights.

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    Manka Cat wrote:
    Just wanted to get a feel for people's attitudes on this. I've heard you have to tell the cop right off that you are packing. Does anyone have any stories about this, or know more about the law? I'm in Wyoming, but it might be a federal deal.

    For now I plan to tell the officer (If I get pulled over) that I am carrying a gun, while having both hands on the steering wheel. I would do this in case he asked me to get out of the car, and got surprised. I don't want to get shot, or be uncooperative. If a cop is reasonable with me, I'll do everything I can to make his job easier, so long as that doesn't include voluntarily giving up any rights.
    Personally, even though in certain states it's NOT the law to the a LEO while pulled over, due to courtesy I would still tell the Officer. This would just tell the Officer that I am trustworthy and that I have nothing to hide and will help him/her how to deal with the stop.

    Here, in Utah,when I'm pulled over I have the wallet open with DL and Permit in my hand resting on the wheel telling the Officer that I am carrying. (It's the Law to inform an Officer). If it's night I like to turn on the light in the car to help with the visaul aid for the Officer.

    Just my .44

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    here in NC it's required by law to inform any approaching LEO.

    having the light turned on inside is a good idea...





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    I have mixed feelings about whether it would be a good idea to tell the officer or not, in states where it is an option. If one is CCing, I can't see a point in it, as it would just complicate matters when there is a negligible chance that your concealed piece will be noticed. If one is OCing, I'd hope the LEO would notice that... if not, I'd feel more inclined to point it out.

    Oh, and if you have a gun in the glovebox, and you need to get your registration, it might be a good idea to tell the LEO before you open the glovebox...

    The circumstances of the stop would also play a role. If you're getting pulled for something petty, like 71 in a 65, I'd leave the issue alone. I get the feeling that an LEO so bored/overzealous as to cite you for something like that would have a field day with your having a gun. Oh, you're packing? I need to disarm you and check serial numbers... maybe check your car for other guns, maybe take your gun into custody and make you pick it up later. Better run an extensive background check on you... etc etc.

    With that being said, the feeling I get from what I've read of encounters here in Pennsylvania is that outside of Philly, it's generally assumed that a driver has a gun in the car, and isn't worth asking about.

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    As I understand it, in Virginia it is not required (i.e. not the law) to inform an LEO that you are armed. And I know this will stir up a hornet's nest on this site, but as for me, I do inform them for the following reasons: 1) I do not like "surprises" and I'm quite sure they don't either. 2) I believe this goes a long way to advance our cause and keep the local and state police on our side. 3) I am reluctant to appear as an a--hole even though it is my right not to inform. I do it mostly out of courtesy.

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

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    Assuming a loaded firearm in the passenger section of the vehicle: It is not required to inform in MO either, however, MO CCW shows up when any MO LE runs your license anyway so there is no reason not to tell them if you have one, which I do. You can carry concealed in your vehicle here without a CCW though.

    In either case, or outside MO, I would more than likely tell the officer that I am armed just to avoid any misunderstanding. I have thought about it, talked to some LEOs about it and have sort of practiced my little casual speech in my head: "Hi, officer. As a courtesy, I want to inform you that I have a concealed carry license and I have a loaded firearm *location*." If I didn't have a CCW it would be the same thing except leaving out the CCW part. The exception to that, if I did not have a CCW, would be City of St. Louis and certain city/county LEOs in the surrounding areas.

    Unless I am in a place where LE is known to be problematic on the issue, I just don't see any reason to not inform in a traffic stop. Most all LEOs are just doing a job and they want to go home to their wife and kids as much as you do. Informing them casually at the beginning seems preferable to me. I would think that if you did not inform and then the officer for any reason saw the weapon that you will likely end up drawn on.

    If you think about it, for people on this forum, informing makes a whole lot of sense. Most people here do OC. Many of us can't OC daily for various reasons, but do OC when able. If you aren't worried about walking by or walking up to an LEO with your gun OC, why be afraid of telling them in a traffic stop that you have an accessible firearm and avoiding a potential misunderstanding? Good communication avoids a lot of problems between people in many situations.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    I would probably not inform the officer that I am armed if I'm expecting only a ticket or warning for some minor violation. However if he asked me to get out of my truck I would then tell him that I am armed and ask how he would like to proceed. Of course as soon as I see the flashing lights in my rearview I can reach into my center console and grab my insurance and registration without too much "suspicious" movement visible to the officer. I will then wait with ins, reg and DL with my hands on the wheel and the dome light on if it's dark. Here in CO is it not required and only some county sheriffs input CCW info into the DL database (I do have my CCW permit but my county sheriff doesn't put in the DL computers)

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    Common sense would seem to indicate that informing a LEO is a good idea. And in most cases it probably is. But not all leos are on the same wave length. Some can get downright disturbed when you tell them you have a firearm. So this is a question some LEOs could weigh in on. So lets hear from them. Do you want to be told or not?

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    deepdiver wrote:
    If you aren't worried about walking by or walking up to an LEO with your gun OC, why be afraid of telling them in a traffic stop that you have an accessible firearm and avoiding a potential misunderstanding? Good communication avoids a lot of problems between people in many situations.
    The problem that arises in my mind is that it comes off as bragging... When you're walking by an LEO when OCing, that's one thing, but it's entirely different if you were to go up to the LEO and say, "Look officer, I have a gun on my hip!"

    I understand the importance of good communication, but only when the communication won't create misunderstandings rather than solve them.

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    As UTOC-45-44 said, here in Utah, if you have a permit and are armed, by law you must tell law enforcement in an official stop situation. But as has been said many times before, the first words out of your mouth should NOT be "I have a gun."


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    in the last three encounters I've had with law enforcement (at a d.o.t. scale, changing a flat tire, and an accident scene), I've not informedthe officersI was carrying.

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    FightingGlock19 wrote:
    in the last three encounters I've had with law enforcement (at a d.o.t. scale, changing a flat tire, and an accident scene), I've not informedthe officersI was carrying.
    I think those situations are different than the OP question. I've had several casual interactions with LEOs while armed and haven't said anything about carrying. I think that is different than a traffic stop. For one, my understanding is that traffic stops are one of the most dangerous parts of most LEO's job. Understandably then, the LEOs are going to be on high alert already and something innocuous to you, may appear very threatening to the officer especially if you have a firearm.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    in ohio it's the law you have to inform the LEO as soon as you get a chance to speak.

    if not it's a crime.. can't remember severity, wanna say felony but that sounds to harsh.

    i would inform them anyway just as a courtesy .. dont want a misunderstanding and be drawn on or worse.. shot.

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    Being a LEO.... I have stopped many people that were armed and told me so.

    I have found a few that hada CC permit on file and I asked them if they were armed finding out they were.

    For me.. I assume EVERYONE in the car is armed.Any LEO that does not or is counting on you to tell him is a fool.

    I would suggest you tell the LEO since there is nothing worse them him seeing it and drawing down on you thinking you were hiding it for some reason. Remember... he does not know you or what you might have just done. Plus it is just a courtesy thing.


    But the best thing you can do when stopped is the following and this will allow both of you to go on your way safely.

    At night.... turn on your dome light!!!

    Keep your hands on the wheel!!

    Do not move all around!!!

    Roll your window downunless it is already rolled down. Have rear seat passengers roll theirs up!! LEO does not like passengers having easy access to the gun belt.

    Wait for the LEO to ask you for your license and registration. He may not even want it if he is just telling you about a low tire.

    The officer should greet you and advise why you were stopped.

    When your turn to speak comes.. advise that you are armed and the firearm is (insert favorite place to store your gun) and you have a CC permit (If you have one). You may want to ask what you did wrong if you were not told.

    If you need to find documents in the car let the officer know where you are going to search to get them. Reaching into obscured places make a LEO nervous. He has not ran your name yet so he has no idea if you are a wanted criminal or escaped convict.

    Put your hands back on the wheel while the officer is there.

    Stay in the car!! If you want to get the officer's attention.. hold your arm out the window.

    When the officer returns to your windowbe sure to put your hands back on the wheel.

    Now is not the time to argue your point about the violation. Go to court and let the Judge know. The street is not the place to debate the violation.


    Remember.... so fewmotorists are nice during a stop that those who are polite have a greater chance of getting a warning or reduced charge.

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    LEO 229 wrote:
    Being a LEO.... I have stopped many people that were armed and told me so.

    I have found a few that hada CC permit on file and I asked them if they were armed finding out they were.

    For me.. I assume EVERYONE in the car is armed.Any LEO that does not or is counting on you to tell him is a fool.

    I would suggest you tell the LEO since there is nothing worse them him seeing it and drawing down on you thinking you were hiding it for some reason. Remember... he does not know you or what you might have just done. Plus it is just a courtesy thing.


    But the best thing you can do when stopped is the following and this will allow both of you to go on your way safely.

    At night.... turn on your dome light!!!

    Keep your hands on the wheel!!

    Do not move all around!!!

    Roll your window downunless it is already rolled down. Have rear seat passengers roll theirs up!! LEO does not like passengers having easy access to the gun belt.

    Wait for the LEO to ask you for your license and registration. He may not even want it if he is just telling you about a low tire.

    The officer should greet you and advise why you were stopped.

    When your turn to speak comes.. advise that you are armed and the firearm is (insert favorite place to store your gun) and you have a CC permit (If you have one). You may want to ask what you did wrong if you were not told.

    If you need to find documents in the car let the officer know where you are going to search to get them. Reaching into obscured places make a LEO nervous. He has not ran your name yet so he has no idea if you are a wanted criminal or escaped convict.

    Put your hands back on the wheel while the officer is there.

    Stay in the car!! If you want to get the officer's attention.. hold your arm out the window.

    When the officer returns to your windowbe sure to put your hands back on the wheel.

    Now is not the time to argue your point about the violation. Go to court and let the Judge know. The street is not the place to debate the violation.


    Remember.... so fewmotorists are nice during a stop that those who are polite have a greater chance of getting a warning or reduced charge.
    Tell that to the officer who "hasn't given a warning in 18 years" and who happened to stop me for speeding...

    Seems like common-sense advice you gave, and I've followed it since I've started driving, er, getting pulled over, er, it's kind of the same amount of time... I never could understand how people possibly think it's a good idea to keep their tinted windows up, move around inside the car, and then proceed to act belligerently when the officer gets to the window while flailing their arms.

    Two items you seemed to have forgotten on the list, though...
    -Pull over as far as you can. My experience has shown that LEOs don't like having to trek through the mud on the passanger side of your car to talk to you without risking getting hit by a car on the road. Leave a good space between the driver's side of your car and the moving traffic.
    -Turn off the engine and stereo. Seems suspicious to leave the engine running, and rude to have the stereo on.

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    imperialism2024 wrote:
    Tell that to the officer who "hasn't given a warning in 18 years" and who happened to stop me for speeding...

    Seems like common-sense advice you gave, and I've followed it since I've started driving, er, getting pulled over, er, it's kind of the same amount of time... I never could understand how people possibly think it's a good idea to keep their tinted windows up, move around inside the car, and then proceed to act belligerently when the officer gets to the window while flailing their arms.

    Two items you seemed to have forgotten on the list, though...
    -Pull over as far as you can. My experience has shown that LEOs don't like having to trek through the mud on the passanger side of your car to talk to you without risking getting hit by a car on the road. Leave a good space between the driver's side of your car and the moving traffic.
    -Turn off the engine and stereo. Seems suspicious to leave the engine running, and rude to have the stereo on.

    Ahhh.. You are right.

    Pull over far enough or pick a spot that is going to be safe for everyone. Off the road orin a parking lot is the best. The driver then reduces his own risk of being rear ended.

    You get bonus points.... Please turn down your music so you can have an intelligent conversation and hear why you were pulled over.

    Sorry to hear you never received a warning.. I give out several based on the violation and your record.

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    LEO 229 wrote:
    imperialism2024 wrote:
    Tell that to the officer who "hasn't given a warning in 18 years" and who happened to stop me for speeding...

    Seems like common-sense advice you gave, and I've followed it since I've started driving, er, getting pulled over, er, it's kind of the same amount of time... I never could understand how people possibly think it's a good idea to keep their tinted windows up, move around inside the car, and then proceed to act belligerently when the officer gets to the window while flailing their arms.

    Two items you seemed to have forgotten on the list, though...
    -Pull over as far as you can. My experience has shown that LEOs don't like having to trek through the mud on the passanger side of your car to talk to you without risking getting hit by a car on the road. Leave a good space between the driver's side of your car and the moving traffic.
    -Turn off the engine and stereo. Seems suspicious to leave the engine running, and rude to have the stereo on.

    Ahhh.. You are right.

    Pull over far enough or pick a spot that is going to be safe for everyone. Off the road orin a parking lot is the best. The driver then reduces his own risk of being rear ended.

    You get bonus points.... Please turn down your music so you can have an intelligent conversation and hear why you were pulled over.

    Sorry to hear you never received a warning.. I give out several based on the violation and your record.
    Well, I managed to get one once. After a NY state trooper pulled me for 76 in a 55 (it became a 65 zone a half mile later, as I found out), before he went back to his car, he asked me if he'd find anything when he ran my license... So I gave him the full record of my other tickets, and I guess he appreciated my honesty and let me off with a verbal warning. To this day I still don't know how I managed that, but I like to think that taking the steps outlined and being respectful to the officer helped.

    Then the next (and last) ticket I got was when I ran into the "I've never given a warning in 18 years" LEO.

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    So you are proof thatbeing cooperative and good attitude can get you a little break.

    Even if you did break the law!!

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    Manka Cat wrote:
    SNIP If a cop is reasonable with me, I'll do everything I can to make his job easier, so long as that doesn't include voluntarily giving up any rights.
    Lets say we're talking about being stopped while CCing in a state that doesn't require notification.

    Telling the officerone isarmed is voluntarily giving up a right--4th Amendment protections. Police may not search you for a weapon absent custodial arrest or reasonable suspicion that you are armed and dangerous. See Terry vs Ohio.Thus, the 4th Amendment protects you from the actions of an over-zealous or lack-judgment cop regarding your lawfully held firearm.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    Citizen wrote:
    Manka Cat wrote:
    SNIP If a cop is reasonable with me, I'll do everything I can to make his job easier, so long as that doesn't include voluntarily giving up any rights.
    Lets say we're talking about being stopped while CCing in a state that doesn't require notification.

    Telling the officerone isarmed is voluntarily giving up a right--4th Amendment protections. Police may not search you for a weapon absent custodial arrest or reasonable suspicion that you are armed and dangerous. See Terry vs Ohio.Thus, the 4th Amendment protects you from the actions of an over-zealous or lack-judgment cop regarding your lawfully held firearm.
    Under the 1st Amendment I have a right to say or write a lot of offensive and nasty things, but I choose not to exercise my rights in that manner, but making a decision to not exercise it in that manner is not giving up my rights. Telling an officer I am armed is also not giving up a right. I am making a choice to give him certain information about something on my person or in my vehicle. In the example of legally CCing and volunteering that information, I am not giving the officer cause to violate my 4th amendment rights. If providing that information were followed by the LEO requesting to search the vehicle I would assert my 4th amendment rights and deny that request. That is making a choice as to how I exercise my rights. That's the nice thing about freedom. We get choices.

    There are certain places where LE are known to be adversarial to gun owners and in those places caution as to providing information is obviously advisable. However, outside of those areas, I'm going to give the LEO the benefit of the doubt just like I hope he will do the same for me. An armed society is a polite society as they say, and I think that most of the time, informing the officer during a traffic stop that one is carrying is just polite and I think that most LEO will appreciate the information in the spirit in which it is offered.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    Citizen wrote:
    Manka Cat wrote:
    SNIP If a cop is reasonable with me, I'll do everything I can to make his job easier, so long as that doesn't include voluntarily giving up any rights.
    Lets say we're talking about being stopped while CCing in a state that doesn't require notification.

    Telling the officerone isarmed is voluntarily giving up a right--4th Amendment protections. Police may not search you for a weapon absent custodial arrest or reasonable suspicion that you are armed and dangerous. See Terry vs Ohio.Thus, the 4th Amendment protects you from the actions of an over-zealous or lack-judgment cop regarding your lawfully held firearm.
    The KEY word is VOLUNTARILY...



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    In a non-"must inform" juristiction.......

    Telling an officer that you are legally and quite properly armed is about as necessary as telling him which way you voted in the last local or national election. I have no intention of harming the officer, why does he need to know that I'm responsible for my own self-defence?


    I'd remain silent, just as I would/do when asked...

    "You got any drugs in there?"
    "If I searched your car, would I find anything?"
    "You don't have anything to hide, do you?"
    "You been drinkin' tonite, sir?"



    Okay...confession time; on those occasions when I know there is going to be a roadblock (an locally they do it same place, same time, every year) I have gone out of my way to go thru the roadblock and cause just a tiny bit of controversy.





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    deepdiver wrote:
    SNIP Telling an officer I am armed is also not giving up a right.
    Sure it is. Its not a classicsituation of giving consent to a search, but its there nonetheless.

    For the sake of discussion, lets leave out situations requiring search warrants and probable cause. And lets assume we're sufficiently familiar with settled 4th Amend. case law that we don't need to cite.

    Remember that the 4th Amendment wasn't intended to protect illegal objects. Itsintended to protect law-abiding citizensand our legal property. It justhappens to protect illegal stuff at the same time, in a manner of speaking.

    Consent legallyturns an unreasonable search into a reasonable one regardless of whether illegal or legal property is discovered. The matter hinges on the consent, not the legality orillegality of theitems discovered.

    In a classsic case ofconsenting to a search, the policewould bestarting with no knowledge (or insufficient certainty) that an object exists in a certain location. Thus,they need your consentto search. That is to say, they need your consent to find out whether certain objects are present. Typically the focus is on illegal objects because generally that isall that is legally actionable; but remember, the 4th Amendment is intended to protectlegal objects from unreasonable searches and seizures, not illegal objects.

    You could say, "I have 10 lbs of grass in the trunk." Or you could consent to a search and let them find it. Either way, you areallowing them reasonably aquired knowledge of its presence.Either way, you just removed the 4A protections. Grass is illegal;but thesame would hold true for legal property. Now that the officer knowsan objectis present, he can take whatever action he wants. And don't forget,you are well advised not to physically resist, and to comply with all commands.Its only after the incident that you get to fight back.

    So, lets say its my gun. Its legally carried. Its legally concealed. It is protected by the 4th Amendment. If I reveal its presence, I am waivingits protection against unreasonable seizure by any over-zealous or lack-judgment cop. Iwaive my protection against: having it dropped on the pavement, having to wait while its serial number is checked in a fishing expedition, having to reassemble it and reload it after the police leave, and the other indignitiesagainst gun carriers reported on this forum.

    I'm not criticizing your decision to notify an officer of the presence of your gun. I'm literally only discussing the waiving of a right against unreasonable search and seizure.

    As for me, when I can figure out how to tell the good cops from the bad cops, I'll consider notifying. Until then, the only way I can tell one from the other is after it is too late.


    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Fallschirmjäger wrote:
    SNIP I have no intention of harming the officer, why does he need to know that I'm responsible for my own self-defence?
    +1

    This is the point that, in my opinion (as opposed to legally), makes notification unreasonable.

    Law-abiding citizens are not, by definition, going to harm the officer. Bad guys aren't going to tell him its there. Especially if they are thinking of using it.

    The only benefit from notifying, voluntarily or in compliance with a statute,is giving a nervous-nellie officer some peace of mind. And his momentary peace of mind in no way outweighs the protections afforded by the 4th Amendment. Or more importantly, the possible problems that professionally deficientcopscan cause.


    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Citizen wrote:
    Manka Cat wrote:
    SNIP If a cop is reasonable with me, I'll do everything I can to make his job easier, so long as that doesn't include voluntarily giving up any rights.
    Lets say we're talking about being stopped while CCing in a state that doesn't require notification.

    Telling the officerone isarmed is voluntarily giving up a right--4th Amendment protections. Police may not search you for a weapon absent custodial arrest or reasonable suspicion that you are armed and dangerous. See Terry vs Ohio.Thus, the 4th Amendment protects you from the actions of an over-zealous or lack-judgment cop regarding your lawfully held firearm.
    Telling someone you are armed does not mean you "give up" a damn thing. Once you have told them you are armed they may now have cause to check you for more weapons and that is it. They cannot search your pocket link for fragments of crack cocaine. You are still provided protections under the 4th amendment.

    And a search for weapons outside an arrest can also happen in more situations than you know.

    Stop and frisk is always an option outside the 4th amendment. There is nothing worse then a cop frisking you and finding that gun on his own. You may want to warn him ahead of time.

    SEARCH AND SEIZURE

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.



    The Right of the Police to Conduct A Stop and Frisk

    A police officer may stop a person in order to question them if the officer has a "reasonable suspicion" that the person is engaged in criminal activity. And for self-protection, the officer can at the same time carry out a limited pat-down search for weapons (a "frisk").
    In two cases decided in the 2000 term, the U.S. Supreme Court interpreted the "stop and frisk" rule.

    In one case, the Court ruled that running away from the police is enough of a reason for the police to stop and frisk the defendant.

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