What Does Reasonable Suspicion Mean?

In order for a police officer to detain you, they must have reasonable suspicion that you have been involved or will be involved in a crime. This is actually a legal standard that requires police officers to have certain facts that would allow for a reasonable person to believe that a suspect is associated with a criminal act. For example, if a police officer witnesses someone behaving suspiciously and they drop an object and run when police approach them, this would be reasonable suspicion to detain this person. Hunches, rumors, prejudices and curiosity do not constitute as reasonable suspicion.

How This Applies To DUI

If a police officer notices a driver weaving within their lane or across lanes, this may be reasonable suspicion to believe that the driver is drunk. In this case, the police officer would have a legal standard to stop the vehicle and question the suspect.

Understanding Your Rights

If you feel you are being detained by police, you have the right to politely ask the officer if you are free to leave. In the event that you are not free to leave, you do have the right to remain silent and ask to speak to an attorney. A police officer will only be able to legally determine reasonable suspicion if you are acting nervous and giving conflicting answers. This is why it’s in your best interest to remain silent. This will ensure that you don’t make any self-incriminating statements that can be used against you later in court. In relation to this, you are protected under the Fourth Amendment from illegal searches. Refusing to let police search you or your protected will not result in reasonable suspicion.