What is reasonable suspicion when it comes to police stops?

On Behalf of | Aug 10, 2021 | Blog, Criminal Defense |

In the United States, a police officer cannot just choose to pull you over while you are driving. In order to do so, they have to have reasonable suspicion that you are doing something illegal. The term “reasonable suspicion” has gone through extensive court battles over a multi-decade period, but in essence, it means that police officers have some sort of evidence that you may be doing something that violates the law. Each state, including Louisiana, has its own criminal code, and understanding when a police officer has reasonable suspicion may be vital to a case.

When can a police officer stop you?

In criminal law, a police officer must take into account all circumstances for making a police stop before determining if he or she has reasonable suspicion that a crime may have been committed. This is necessary in order to detain an individual or search their possessions. It is a low standard, lower than probable cause, and only requires the reasonable suspicion that there may have been criminal activity. This requires at least some evidence or belief that can be based on the facts of the incident in question. A police officer’s personal bias or guess would not qualify.

If you have been pulled over and arrested, it’s important to review the circumstances of the case. A defense attorney may be able to determine if there are reasonable suspicion issues. If there are, it is possible that the charges you were arrested for might be dismissed.

Reasonable suspicion is meant to protect people from arbitrary arrests and overzealous police officers. Anyone who is arrested for a crime should understand exactly what this term means and how it may impact their criminal case.


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