In order for a police officer to pull you over in Texas or detain you, there must first be a reasonable amount of suspicion to do so. Although law enforcement officials need to have reasonable suspicion to stop or detain you, they are not allowed to arrest you on reasonable suspicion alone.
For example, a police officer may observe you driving recklessly in and out of traffic and swerving. He now has a reasonable suspicion that you may, at the very least, be impaired. He can now legally pull you over. However, reasonable suspicion alone is not enough to arrest you for potentially driving under the influence. To facilitate an arrest, he must have what is known as “probable cause.”
What is the Difference Between Reasonable Suspicion and Probable Cause?
Reasonable suspicion is the legal justification that a police officer can use to pull you over or question you. Nevertheless, in order to arrest you, the officer needs probable cause. Probable cause is basically the facts that support the officer’s suspicion.
If you are pulled over and are having a hard time speaking or standing up, this could give the officer the probable cause necessary to have you perform a field sobriety test. If you fail the tests, you could be arrested for driving while intoxicated.
What are Some Examples of Reasonable Suspicion?
Law enforcement officers have the legal discretion to use reasonable suspicion to pull you over for some if some of the following factors are present:
- Swerving in and out of traffic
- Driving too slowly
- Not being able to maintain your lane
- Driving recklessly and endangering others
- Running stop signs or red lights
Can My Charges be Thrown Out if There Was Not Reasonable Suspicion?
There may be a possibility that your charges can be dismissed if the testimony of the arresting officer does not match the evidence against you. Your defense attorney could contend that the stop was unlawful and, therefore, the charges should be dismissed.
In addition, if the judge determines that there was no reasonable suspicion to pull you over in the first place, the court could decide that the stop was unlawful and violated your constitutional rights, and your charges could be dropped.
This is why it is crucial that you hire a criminal defense attorney to review your case to verify that the stop is legal and has not violated your rights.
How Can a Defense Attorney Help Me With Reasonable Suspicion?
A skilled defense attorney can examine all of the police reports and dash cam and body camera videos to determine if the police did indeed have reasonable suspicion to pull you over. If the evidence does not match the testimony given by the officer, you may stand a good chance of having your charges dismissed.
If you feel that you were pulled over or detained and the officer in question did not have the necessary reasonable suspicion legally required to do so, contact The Greening Law Group. Our highly knowledgeable attorneys can listen to your side of the story and answer any questions that you may have. Contact us today by calling 979-779-2000 for a free consultation.