Criminal defense after a street encounter with police

We recently wrote about probable cause being needed by a police officer in order to make a lawful arrest in Bowling Green, Kentucky. An officer lacking probable cause might still be able to stop, question and conduct a limited search of the outer clothing of a person based on a standard known as reasonable suspicion.

The concept of allowing police to stop a person on the street without having probable cause to make an arrest and file a felony or misdemeanor criminal charge was challenged as a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The case resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court carving out a limited exception to the requirement that law enforcement officers must possess probable cause in order to search or detain a person.

The Supreme Court recognized that situations might exist where a police officer might see or hear something that leads him or her to believe that criminal activity might be taking place. Reasonable suspicion is a belief, based upon the officer’s observations combined with his or her training and experience, that further investigation is warranted.

Reasonable suspicion allows the officer to approach a person in a public place and engage that person in conversation designed to determine if criminal activity is, in fact, taking place. A criminal charge may result from a stop that originates with reasonable suspicion depending upon the information the officer gets from the person.

A police officer may, if the officer believes that the person being questioned might have a weapon, lightly pat down the person’s outer clothing. The pat down, or frisk, is solely for the officer to detect objects that feel like a knife, gun or other weapon. If the object does not feel like a weapon, a police officer may not reach into a person’s pocket without probable cause to search.

Street encounters between police and individuals are a daily occurrence. A criminal defense attorney might be of assistance to a person charged with a crime after being stopped by the police.

Free Initial Consultation Today

If you live in Oak Grove, Fort Campbell, Hopkinsville, or Cadiz, Kentucky, don’t face your criminal charges on your own. Reach out to criminal defense attorney Michael J. Thompson and schedule a free consultation to discuss your criminal charges. You can reach Mr. Thompson at (270) 439-1175. You can also contact our law firm by filling out our online contact form.

recent posts



schedule a consultation

Fill out this simple form or give my office a call at (270) 439-1175 to get started on your case.

"*" indicates required fields

I Have Read The Disclaimer*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

15744 Fort Campbell Blvd
Oak Grove, KY 42262