When there’s the belief that criminal activity is being committed, reasonable suspicion is used by the police to stop and investigate people. For example, an officer who sees someone tucking a bottle of alcohol under their jacket in a store may have reasonable suspicion that a crime is taking place. With this, the police may conduct an investigative stop and search and find that the person was trying to steal and may have a theft record.
Reasonable suspicion isn’t just a hunch. Law enforcement must have clear and justifiable reasons to suspect someone of committing a crime. Without a justifiable reason, a stop and search may help an appeal case. Here’s what you should know:
People have rights against illegal searches
A court of law will evaluate the factors that led to a police officer to stop and search someone. For example, a judge may evaluate whether a police officer’s reasons to stop and search someone were justifiable or were based on bias or prejudice.
If an officer can’t provide any reason for a stop and search, then the stop may be illegal. Under the Fourth Amendment, people have protective rights from unconstitutional searches unless an officer has clear reasonable suspicion to conduct a search. If a search is done unlawfully, then it may infringe on a person’s Constitutional rights.
Evidence that was obtained in violation of the law and someone’s rights should never make it into the courtroom – but judicial mistakes do happen. If a stop and search by the authorities wasn’t justified and the evidence gathered that way crucial to your conviction, that may form the basis of an appeal.