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Reasonable Suspicion

reasonable suspicion n

: an objectively justifiable suspicion that is based on specific facts or circumstances that justifies stopping and sometimes searching (as by frisking) a person thought to be involved in criminal activity at the time.

What Qualifies a Reasonable Suspicion?

Generally, a law enforcement officer needs to have unbiased, clear, fair, justified reasoning to suspect someone. Then, the officer can stop their car and search the person or the car.

A police officer stopping a person must be able to point to specific facts or circumstances for why they pulled the person over. The level of suspicion does not need to rise to that of the belief that is supported by probable cause. A reasonable suspicion is more than a hunch.

See also reasonable cause at cause or compare probable cause at causeterry stop

Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.

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