You have heard it used in crime shows such as Law & Order, and maybe you have even experienced it firsthand after being stopped by a police officer. The question remains: what does reasonable suspicion mean?
Reasonable suspicion is a standard used in criminal proceedings. It determines whether a search performed by a police officer was done according to the law. An officer can detain someone under reasonable suspicion if the person looks like a criminal suspect, runs after seeing law enforcement, or even a person who is acting suspiciously in a high crime area.
The reasonable suspicion standard requires facts or circumstances that would lead a person to believe that a suspect has, is, or will commit a crime. Because this standard is easy to meet, officers can only briefly detain and frisk the suspect. If the officers do not determine there is enough evidence to perform a more in-depth search, then they must release the suspect within a reasonable period of time.
What Does This Mean for You?
If you are stopped by a police officer, comply with any initial questions or frisks. Once those have been completed and the police have found nothing to give them further evidence of wrongdoing, you have the right to leave.
Politely ask if you are free to go and leave calmly. Do not answer any further questions if the officer does not immediately let you go. Keep calmly asking if you are free to go. Refusing to answer questions from an officer does not create reasonable suspicion.
If the police do not let you go after the initial stop, that means that you are being detained. The police have likely found reason to suspect that you have committed a crime and you could be arrested. Refuse to answer any more questions and ask for a lawyer. Reach out to King Law at 888-748-5464 (KING) to schedule your consultation with us today.