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

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 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. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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