Know the Law: Reasonable Suspicion

Know the Law: Reasonable Suspicion

Your Orange County DUI lawyer will start at the very beginning and go through all events of your arrest to explore useful evidence in your case. First things first: what happened just before you were pulled over? Be aware that the police must have reasonable suspicion in order to stop someone.

The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizure. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1979 that it is not reasonable to stop a motorist just to check their license and registration. Instead “articulable and reasonable suspicion” of unlawful activity is required.

The type of transgression on the part of the motorist that caused the suspicion can vary. And the standard of “reasonable suspicion” is subjective because people can disagree on whether something raises suspicion of unlawful conduct. It’s no wonder that every state has its own laws.

Did the officer observe a traffic violation?

In many cases, a police officer says that he or she observed a violation of law prior to making a DUI arrest. But often the report is based on assumptions, such as gauging speed based on experience rather than a radar gun. This disconnect may call the reasonableness of the stop into question. The police have very little time to make decisions, while a DUI lawyer takes great care to study the case evidence and may arrive at a more reliable assessment. Perhaps through no fault of the arresting officer their snap judgment may be wrong. That makes the stop well intended but unwarranted.  In any event, it takes some investigation and legal know-how to determine whether a stop is justified based on the standard of reasonable suspicion set forth by the court. In addition, a higher standard of “probable cause” must be met before an arrest.

The U.S. Constitution matters and to defend your case, you need an Orange County DUI lawyer who knows not just federal law but California traffic laws and local court operations. Call the Law Office of Mike Coffey Attorney at Law& the Law Office of Mike Coffey Attorney at Lawfor a free consultation at (800) 706-7888.

Source: [Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648, 663 (1979).]