Protect Your Rights After an IL Stop and Frisk or Strip Search Incident

There is nothing more personal than your own body. When the police officer frisked you or worse, did a strip search, you may have experienced embarrassment, shame, and even physical injuries. You may have been left with a lot of questions:

  • Were my constitutional rights violated?
  • Was the frisk or strip search legal?
  • Is the police department responsible for your injuries?
  • What questions should you ask after the fact?
  • How can you know what really happened?
  • How can you protect your legal rights?

Our Police Brutality Lawyers Will Answer All of These Questions

You deserve to know whether your rights were violated, whether the police department should be held accountable, and how to protect your potential recovery after an unlawful frisk or strip search.

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures. This includes unreasonable frisks and strip searches.

Our experienced police brutality lawyers will look at all of the evidence, which may include video footage, witness accounts, police department policies and procedures, police training materials, and other critical information, to determine whether your frisk or strip search was reasonable.

Unreasonable Frisks

In 1968, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a police officer could stop and frisk a person if given the circumstances a reasonable officer would believe that that the officer’s safety or the safety of others is at risk. If there is a reasonable safety concern, then a frisk for weapons would not violate the fourth amendment because the search would be reasonable. However, without a reasonable safety concern, a frisk violates the fourth amendment.

The Fourth Amendment may not be your only legal protection. The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires states to provide equal protection of the law to all people in its jurisdiction. Some courts have found that stop and frisk policies violate the Fourteenth Amendment because people of color are stopped and frisked at a higher rate than other people.

Unreasonable Strip Searches

While a frisk requires a police officer to pat you down over your clothes, a strip search is more invasive. A strip search requires you to remove your clothes and may involve an internal search of your body cavities. In addition to the constitutional protections against unreasonable searches, Illinois has a specific law that provides you with protection against unreasonable strip searches when you are arrested.

In Illinois:

  • A strip search is defined as, “… having an arrested person remove or arrange some or all of his or her clothing so as to permit a visual inspection of the genitals, buttocks, anus, female breasts or undergarments of such person.”
  • If a person is arrested for a traffic, regulatory, or misdemeanor crime (other than a weapons or drug crime), then the person may only be strip searched if there is a reasonable belief that person is concealing a weapon or drugs.
  • All strip searches must be performed by someone of the same sex as the person being searched.
  • All strip searches must be done in a private area that can’t be observed by others.
  • Anyone conducting a strip search shall obtain written permission of the police commander or the commander’s agent.
  • Anyone conducting a strip search shall prepare a report of the search, which includes the name of the person being searched, the name of the people searching, and the time, date, and location of the search. A copy of this report must be provided to you.
  • Before a body cavity other than the mouth is searched, a search warrant must be obtained. The search warrant must specify that the search will be done in sanitary conditions and either conducted by or supervised by a physician who is licensed to practice medicine in Illinois.

The protection of the law applies whether or not the police informed you of your rights.

Protect Your Recovery If the Police Violated Your Rights

If your frisk or strip search was unconstitutional, if you suffered sexual abuse, or if you suffered other physical injuries, then we encourage you to contact our experienced Illinois police brutality attorneys today for a free case evaluation. We are here to help you through this difficult time and protect your potential recovery. Call us or start a live chat with us at any time to learn more.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.