Criminal Law

2673. Pat-Down Search

An officer who has lawfully detained someone may conduct a carefully limited search of the detained person's outer clothing, in order to discover whether that person has a weapon. The officer may conduct this limited search only if he or she reasonably believes that the detained person may be armed and dangerous.

[If, during the search, the officer finds an object that feels reasonably like (a/an) (knife[,]/ [or] gun[,]/ [or] club[,]/ [or] <insert specific type of weapon>), the officer may remove the object from the person's clothing.]

Bench Notes

Instructional Duty

The court may give this instruction on request.


Stop and Frisk Permissible. Terry v. Ohio (1968) 392 U.S. 1, 30-31 [88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d 889]; People v. Scott (1976) 16 Cal.3d 242, 248 [128 Cal.Rptr. 39, 546 P.2d 327].

Officer May Remove Object That Feels Like Typical Weapon. People v. Collins (1970) 1 Cal.3d 658, 663 [83 Cal.Rptr. 179, 463 P.2d 403]; People v. Watson (1970) 12 Cal.App.3d 130, 135 [90 Cal.Rptr. 483].

Secondary Sources

1 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Illegally Obtained Evidence, § 249 et seq.

1 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 10, Investigative Detention, §§ 10.01-10.06 (Matthew Bender).

(New January 2006)