Fourth Amendment – Konw It, It Might Help One Day

Amendment IV

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.

Stop and frisk

A brief, non-intrusive, police stop of a suspect.  The Fourth Amendment requires that the police have a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been, is being, or is about to be committed before stopping a suspect.  If the police reasonably suspect the person is armed and dangerous, they may conduct a frisk, a quick pat-down of the person’s outer clothing.   See Terry v Ohio, 392 US 1, (1967).

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary

A law enforcement officer’s brief detention, questioning, and search for a concealed weapon when the officer has reason to believe that the detainee has committed or is about to commit a crime. Any further search requires either a search warrant or probable cause to believe the suspect will commit or has committed a crime (including carrying a concealed weapon, which itself is a crime).

Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.

Other Resources:

Wex Resources

Fourth Amendment

Criminal Law / Criminal Procedure

Search and Seizure

Unreasonable Search and Seizure

Mapp v. Ohio (1961)

Expectation of Privacy


Arrest Warrant


Search Warrant

Plain View

Stop and Frisk

Terry Stop

Reasonable Suspicion

Probable Cause

Anticipatory Warrant

No-knock Warrant

Knock-and-announce Rule

Exigent Circumstances

Fruit of the Poisonous Tree

Exclusionary Rule

Good Faith Exception to Exclusionary Rule

Automobile Exception

Electronic Surveillance



US Code: Title 18

Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure
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