Is Pat Down or Frisk During a Stop In Louisiana Legal ?

Even after a lawful stop, a police officer is not always justified in frisking a suspect for weapons. State v. Bolden, 380 So. 2d 40 (La. 1980), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 856, 101 S. Ct. 153, 66 L. Ed. 2d 70 (1980). Once a police officer has made an investigatory stop and reasonably suspects that he is in danger, he may frisk the outer clothing of the person stopped for a dangerous weapon. La. C.Cr.P. art. 215.1; State v. Tucker, supra. A weapons frisk is justified, however, only under the circumstances where a reasonably prudent man would be warranted in the belief that his safety or that of others is in danger. To establish reasonable belief, the officer must be able to point to particular facts from which he reasonably inferred that the individual was armed and dangerous. Sibron v. New York, 392 U.S. 40, 88 S. Ct. 1889, 20 L. Ed. 2d 917 [Pg 7] (1968). The officer need not be absolutely certain that the person is armed, but the officer must be warranted in his belief that his safety or that of others is in danger. State v. Clausen, 97-0885 (La. App. 4th Cir. 7/2/97), 697 So. 2d 1066, writ denied, 97-2420 (La. 3/20/98), 715 So. 2d 1207. As the Supreme Court noted in Illinois, supra, if the officer does not learn facts which support an additional intrusion, the individual "must be allowed to go on his way."