Stop-And-Frisk Records Kept In Police Databases?

The stop-and-frisk practices of the New York City Police Department have led to several lawsuits currently in the courts. The procedure allows police officers to question individuals that are reasonably suspected to be engaged in criminal activity. Officers may question the suspect, and then check the individual for weapons or evidence of contraband.

The policy has led to a drastic increase in the number of charges for drug crimes, especially for marijuana possession. Those in favor of the program have said it has reduced the number of guns and violent crimes committed within the city. Critics contend that the procedure has subjected a disproportionate number of minorities to police harassment, and the NYPD has been forced to make changes to its policies.

Those charged with committing a crime have also encountered additional challenges as a result of the stop-and-frisk procedures. If an individual is charged with a crime, his or her information is entered into a police database. This database even contains information on those who are found not guilty, or have their cases dismissed.

The records of those who have had been acquitted or have had their charges dismissed should remain sealed. Because this information is accessible, it may subject the individuals to additional police questioning. This practice has been alleged to be in violation of state law, which has led to more questions about the usefulness of the stop-and-frisk policy.

If you are questioned by police, you do have rights that you may exercise. The police will use everything you say against you, so be very careful. In fact, you should simply respond to initial pleas that you are going to remain silent. The officer may request to search you for evidence of crime, and you should ask to see the officer's search warrant. If none is provided, refuse consent to the search. Police can use anything that they find on you as evidence that you participated in a crime.

Exercising these rights may not stop the encounter, but it will allow you to provide a defense at trial. If police actions violated your constitutional rights, it is possible that some of the evidence that was obtained during the stop will be excluded.

Being questioned by police can be a confusing experience. Often, it is simply a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you are charged with a drug crime or other criminal activity, speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney to understand the options that are available in your situation. It is important to present a strong defense to the charges that you are facing, because the consequences of a conviction may last a lifetime.

Categories: Criminal Defense
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