Before an Albuquerque, New Mexico, law enforcement officer can perform a traffic stop, he or she must have “reasonable suspicion” to do so. “Reasonable suspicion” is a subjective standard, and it is important to fully understand it in the context of a DWI/DUI. If a law enforcement officer lacked reasonable suspicion, you may have the basis of a strong defense to any criminal charges the officer brings against you.
What Is Reasonable Suspicion?
In most cases, judges use their discretion when determining whether or not an officer had reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle. However, even judges must adhere to a certain legal standard.
As a legal standard, reasonable suspicion is greater than a mere “hunch,” but lower than “probable cause.” To prove a decision was based off more than a hunch, an officer must prove the existence of certain undisputable facts upon which he or she based the conclusion that the suspect violated the law in some way.
An officer may use the “totality of the circumstances” to back his or her claim of reasonable suspicion. Circumstances may include the time of night at which the stop took place, the vicinity within a bar or nightclub, a road’s notoriety for drunk drivers and the driver’s behavior when behind the wheel.
When determining whether an officer had reasonable suspicion to stop a driver, the courts will consider a few different factors. Those include the following:
- The precise facts of which the officer was aware;
- Whether the suspicions the officer drew from the facts were reasonable; and
- Whether, based on the facts and suppositions, the officer was reasonable in his or her belief that the suspect violated the law.
Proving Lack of Reasonable Suspicion
The attorneys at Simon A. Kubiak, Attorneys At Law, PC, are familiar with the law and legal standards regarding traffic stops and reasonable suspicion. If an officer stopped you for seemingly no reason, our team has the experience and knowledge necessary to identify holes in the prosecutor’s case and build a strategic defense in support of your case. For the aggressive and individualized support your case needs and deserves, call our Albuquerque law firm at (505) 998-6600 today.