Your Appeal Is Your Last Best Chance To Right A Wrong

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Why a stop and search may help a criminal appeal 

On Behalf of | Sep 5, 2023 | New Mexico State Criminal Appeals

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.