What Standard Is Needed To Detain Someone For A Crime?
To detain a person temporarily, officers must have reasonable suspicion that he is involved in a criminal activity. Reasonable suspicion is more than a hunch but less than proof of wrongdoing by a preponderance of the evidence. Reasonable suspicion is determined by looking at all the circumstances of each case to see whether the officer had a specific, objective basis for suspecting the defendant was engaged in criminal activity. Not only must an officer have reasonable suspicion, the officer must articulate the facts and reasonable inferences from those facts when testifying. A search or detention that begins reasonably can become unreasonable if officers exceed what is necessary to accomplish the investigation that initially justifies the search. Two of the most commonly disapproved actions involve moving the suspect too far or detaining the suspect for too long. A reasonable temporary detention may escalate into an arrest if an offer develops information during the detention that supports probable cause. If the stop turns into an arrest, the officer then has greater rights to detain the suspect for longer, move the suspect to another place for questioning, and conduct a search incident to arrest.
To make an investigatory stop, an officer must have a reasonable suspicion, based on objective facts, that the individual is involved in criminal activity. Looking at the totality of the circumstances requires courts to look at each case individually. The facts must show:
- Some activity out of the ordinary;
- The suspect detained is connected with that activity;
- The suspicious activity is related to the crime.
When Can An Officer Search A Car Passenger And Their Belongings?
An officer who has made a valid traffic stop may order passengers as well as the driver to exit the vehicle. Without reasonable suspicion, officers may only conduct consensual questioning of passengers in a vehicle. Searches of passengers and their belongings, depending on the facts, might be authorized under at least two warrantless exceptions:
- A search incident to arrest includes the right to search the passenger compartment of the vehicle if the defendant is an occupant of the vehicle at the time of his arrest; and contraband found in the car can lead to probable cause to believe any or all occupants of the car are committing the offense of drug possession and authorize a search of the driver and all passengers and all areas of the car.
- Consent can also authorize a passenger search, but note that consent from the driver of the car does not necessarily extend to cover searches of the passenger’s belongings. A driver may also have standing to contest the search of a passenger in his car.
Police may conduct a valid warrantless search if a suspect voluntary and intelligently consents. The relevant issues in a consent case are:
- Voluntariness of the consent,
- Scope of the consent, and
- Authority of person giving the consent.
Dallas criminal lawyer Constantine Anagnostis dedicates his practice to people who are facing criminal charges, with a primary emphasis on DWI, Drug Offenses, Expunction & Nondisclosure Agreements, and Occupational Driver’s License Issues. Dallas criminal lawyer Constantine G. Anagnostis understands the law, procedures, and penalties pertaining to criminal law, and will aggressively fight to protect your rights. You may call 817-229-0319 to schedule a free consultation, or submit a sample case form. At DFW Criminal Lawyers, L.L.C., we look forward to helping you.