Keith H. Rutman, Attorney at Law
Call Today 24/7 For A Free Consultation
Toll Free: 888-714-6354
local: 619-573-4988
Main navigation

It's not my job as your attorney to tell you what you want to hear, it’s to tell you what you need to know

Man stopped for wearing metal arrested for drug possession

Street arrests for drug offenses in California must meet certain constitutional standards. Before an officer can stop an individual on a public street the officer must have what is called a reasonable suspicion. That requirement is less demanding than the probable cause required to make an arrest or obtain a search warrant. Therefore, if there is reasonable suspicion of criminal activity sufficient to authorize a proper "stop and frisk," and if drugs are found during a superficial frisk for weapons, a drug possession charge will possibly meet constitutional muster.

The question that usually arises is whether the officer did in fact have reasonable suspicion to make the stop in the first place. If so, then a minimal interrogation and frisk of the body for weapons is allowed. Whether reasonable suspicion existed may depend on the officer's prior experience on the streets, and on a review of the case law to see what the courts decided under similar fact situations.

A recent street arrest in San Rafael exemplifies the issue. At about 7 p.m. on Sept. 22, a patrol officer observed a  man remove a metal object from under his shirt. It was tied to a rope and apparently being worn like a necklace. The officer believed that the item was a curved blade and decided to make a stop to investigate whether it was a concealed weapon. In the process of making what is described as a search, the officer allegedly found suspected methamphetamine, a hypo needle, and pills without a prescription.

The 24-year-old man was booked on drug possession charges pursuant to California law and is being held in lieu of $5,000 bail. The question of whether there was reasonable suspicion could be argued either way. However, if the item on his neck was simply a piece of metal jewelry, then there may have in fact been a lack of reasonable suspicion. That would make the ensuing search improper and the evidence would be declared inadmissible pursuant to  a motion to suppress.


Source:, "Sausalito man arrested on drug allegations in San Rafael", , Sept. 24, 2014

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information


  • "Keith Rutman isn't just a great lawyer—he is figuratively and literally a life saver, having saved my life twice. First in a figurative way. I was facing serous charges and was fearing the worst – a lengthy prison sentence. He applied his expert legal knowledge to secure a positive solution to my problem. It far exceeded my expectations and I received probation. He offered me essential advice on both legal and strategic matters. Mr. Rutman was always immediately available to assist me. I would expect this kind of outstanding service from any lawyer who stands at the top of his profession." Learn More...
  • "Dear Mr. Rutman, I can't begin to thank you for all you have done for Jarrett and Jordan - specifically Jordan; you have gone over and above what most attorneys would do, and treated Jordan so well accepting his "I don't know what your talking about mentality". Jordan is greatly relieved it is over but I don't think he understands fully what is expected of him for the next 12 months." - Judy, Jarrett and Jordan Learn More...
  • "Mr. Rutman did a great job in my dispute over the accuracy of my criminal record against the State of California, and he got the Court to order it changed in my favor. I would highly recommend Mr. Rutman, he is diligent and prompt and very knowledgeable. He would be my first choice if I ever need an attorney again, and he should be yours." - Jerry S Learn More...
  • "Keith and I have handled very complicated trials together including multiple bank robberies and murder cases. I highly endorse Keith. He is always a well prepared, caring, and aggressive criminal defense attorney." Learn More...
  • "I opposed Keith in a federal civil rights claim brought in federal court. Keith was creative and determined to advocate his clients interests and was a pleasure to work with. A true professional in every regard. Enthusiastically recommended and endorsed!" Learn More...