Often times, when a police officer stops a person, the officer will pat the person down. The alleged purpose of this pat-down is for officer’s safety. It is common for the pat-down to take place in almost every arrest. Often the officer will find drugs on the person during the pat-down, resulting in an arrest on the drug charge.
However, in fact, the officer can only legally pat a person down when the officer has legitimate reasons that can be articulated why he has reason to believe that he may be in danger from this particular arrestee. If the officer cannot verbalize the reason that he believed that he was in danger, the arrest is subject to being thrown out by the court and the charges dismissed. This would be accomplished by the attorney for the arrested person filing what is known as a Motion to Suppress.