Can the police stop someone and search someone they know has a previous criminal record?

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Can the police stop someone and search someone they know has a previous criminal record?

Someone I know was stopped by police because the arresting officer knew him from
a previous case three years ago. He got scared and ran is that arrest legal? They
also say that they chased him and arrested him because he had a bulge in his
pants. Does this constitute as a legal arrest?

Asked on October 25, 2016 under Criminal Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

An officer cannot stop someone only becasue he has a criminal prior or past: that alone is not probable cause for a stop. However, if this person was acting suspiciously in other ways (e.g. kept walking past a store or home or car as if "casing" it; was loitering at an odd time, such as in a deserted commercial district long after the stores, etc. are closed; acted visibily nervouse or agitated after seeing an officer; etc.), that may be enough to justify the stop. And if he ran when seeing an officer and had a "bulge" which could be a weapon (or drugs) in his pants, that would support an arrest. 


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