What is Reasonable Suspicion?

The term 'reasonable suspicion' is a legal standard used by police officers to justify stopping and questioning an individual. This standard is somewhere between a mere hunch and probable cause, which is required for an arrest.

Police officers must have a specific and articulable basis for suspecting that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime.

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires that police officers must have a valid reason or evidence before conducting searches and seizures. Courts have interpreted this to mean that the police must have some level of justification or evidence before stopping and questioning someone.

Factors that may contribute to reasonable suspicion include the time of day, location, the behavior of the individual, and information received from witnesses or informants.

It's essential to understand that reasonable suspicion allows for a brief detention and questioning of an individual, but it doesn't provide a legal basis for a search without a warrant or consent.

If the police develop probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed during the course of the detention, they may then conduct a search or make an arrest.