What is Reasonable Suspicion in a Charlotte NC DWI Arrest?
In order to initiate a traffic stop, police must have “reasonable suspicion” to believe that a crime is being or has been committed. Reasonable suspicion is not a high threshold to meet; however there are some situations in which this minimal standard is not satisfied. Almost anything will suffice in making a stop, and not every police interaction starts with a suspicion of DWI. Certainly, if an officer does observe improper or even dangerous driving (swerving, crossing lines, or going down the road in the wrong direction), police instinctively think of DWI. And, your mother was right. Nothing good happens after midnight. If you are on the road after the “witching hour,” you are suspect whether you are headed home from work or a club. Some stops begin with expired tags or inspection stickers, but when the officer smells alcohol, everything changes. What was a routine stop now becomes a DWI investigation. At this point, even if you have had only a small amount of alcohol and are not truly impaired, you can plan on being arrested and spending the rest of the night in jail.
When is Reasonable Suspicion Illegal?
The best example is when the police engage in improper racial profiling. Courts and judges will often allow many different reasons for police stops. Officers cannot, however, exercise their authority merely on a “hunch” and certainly cannot stop a car merely because it contains members of a certain race or ethnicity. The common phrase “driving while black or hispanic” refers to those situations where it appears the only basis for stopping a vehicle was that there were several minorities in the car. This scenario is not proper or legal. In some cases, officers may assert that this was not the reason at all, but the description of what was reasonable suspicion is simply not credible. In those cases, even where some evidence of a crime is ultimately discovered, any evidence found will be suppressed and charges dismissed. Regardless of the reason given, the first step in evaluating any criminal case, including a Charlotte NC DWI, is to evaluate and confirm whether there was sufficient reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle.
If you believe you have been improperly stopped, you can consult with Charlotte NC DWI attorney Robert J. Reeves. Each case is different, but we will be honored to review your particular situation. Call Mr. Reeves directly on his mobile phone 704-351-7979 or email Robert@RJRlaw.com.