This case concerns the authority of police officers to”stop and frisk” a passenger in a motor vehicle temporarilyseized upon police detection of a traffic infraction. In a pathmarking decision, Terry v. Ohio, 392 U. S. 1 (1968), the Court considered whether an investigatory stop (temporary detention) and frisk (patdown for weapons) may be conducted without violating the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. The Court upheld “stop and frisk” as constitutionally permissible if two conditions are met. First, the investigatory stop must be lawful. That requirement is met in an on-the-street encounter, Terry determined, when the police officer reasonably suspects that the person apprehended is committing or has committed a criminal offense. Second, to proceed from a stop to a frisk, the police officer must reasonably suspect that the person stopped is armed and dangerous.
For the duration of a traffic stop, we recently confirmed,a police officer effectively seizes “everyone in the vehicle,” the driver and all passengers. Brendlin v. California, 551
U. S. 249, 255 (2007). Accordingly, we hold that, in a traffic-stop setting, the first Terry condition-a lawful investigatory stop-is met whenever it is lawful for police to detain an automobile and its occupants pending inquiry into a vehicular violation. The police need not have, in addition, cause to believe any occupant of the vehicle isinvolved in criminal activity. To justify a patdown of the driver or a passenger during a traffic stop, however, just as in the case of a pedestrian reasonably suspected of criminal activity, the police must harbor reasonable suspicion that the person subjected to the frisk is armed and dangerous.
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. . . Three decisions cumulatively portray Terry‘s application in a traffic-stop setting: Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U. S. 106 (1977) (per curiam); Maryland v. Wilson, 519 U. S. 408 (1997); and Brendlin v. California, 551 U. S. 249 (2007).
In Mimms, the Court held that “once a motor vehicle has been lawfully detained for a traffic violation, the police officers may order the driver to get out of the vehicle without violating the Fourth Amendment’s proscription of unreasonable searches and seizures.” 434 U. S., at 111, n. 6. The government’s “legitimate and weighty” interest in officer safety, the Court said, outweighs the “de minimis” additional intrusion of requiring a driver, already lawfully stopped, to exit the vehicle. Id., at 110-111. Citing Terry as controlling, the Court further held that a driver, once outside the stopped vehicle, may be patted down for weapons if the officer reasonably concludes that the driver “might be armed and presently dangerous.” 434Â U.S., at 112.
Wilson held that the Mimms rule applied to passengers as well as to drivers. Specifically, the Court instructed that “an officer making a traffic stop may order passengersto get out of the car pending completion of the stop.” 519 U. S., at 415. “[T]he same weighty interest in officer safety,” the Court observed, “is present regardless of whether the occupant of the stopped car is a driver or passenger.” Id., at 413.
It is true, the Court acknowledged, that in a lawful traffic stop, “[t]here is probable cause to believe that the driver has committed a minor vehicular offense,” but “there is no such reason to stop or detain the passengers.” Ibid. On the other hand, the Court emphasized, the risk of a violent encounter in a traffic-stop setting “stems not from the ordinary reaction of a motorist stopped for a speeding violation, but from the fact that evidence of a more serious crime might be uncovered during the stop.” Id., at 414. “[T]he motivation of a passenger to employ violence to prevent apprehension of such a crime,” the Court stated, “is every bit as great as that of the driver.” Ibid. Moreover, the Court noted, “as a practical matter, the passengers are already stopped by virtue of the stop ofthe vehicle,” id., at 413-414, so “the additional intrusion on the passenger is minimal,” id., at 415.
Completing the picture, Brendlin held that a passenger is seized, just as the driver is, “from the moment [a car stopped by the police comes] to a halt on the side of the road.” 551 U. S., at 263. A passenger therefore has standing to challenge a stop’s constitutionality. Id., at 256-259.
After Wilson, but before Brendlin, the Court had stated, in dictum, that officers who conduct “routine traffic stop[s]” may “perform a ‘patdown’ of a driver and any passengers upon reasonable suspicion that they may be armed and dangerous.” Knowles v. Iowa, 525 U. S. 113, 117-118 (1998). That forecast, we now confirm, accurately captures the combined thrust of the Court’s decisions in Mimms, Wilson, and Brendlin.
GINSBURG, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.