Unreasonable Search and Seizure related to an Arizona DUI

unreasonable search and seizureA police officer must prove probably cause or reasonable suspicion to make a lawful arrest or take next steps in searching you or your vehicle during a traffic stop. But if you’ve never studied or researched laws around traffic stops and your rights, you might not know how to defend yourself. An Arizona DUI attorney can be your advocate and mount a defense for you in these cases.

The Constitution sets forth these rules and regulations for when an officer may search you or legally arrest you under reasonable suspicion or probable cause. Each of these two defenses however carries with it necessary proof on behalf of the officer. To help you learn your rights, here’s a look at each of these scenarios and what officers must do to prove them.

What you need to know about probable cause

Protections for probable cause fall under the fourth amendment of the Constitution. A police officer cannot make an unreasonable search or seizure of you or your property. This is because each citizen is entitled to a right to be: “secure in our person, houses, papers and effects” according to what is written in the fourth amendment.

Because of this law, a judge must issue a warrant for a person, place or object, such as a car, to be inspected or searched. Property cannot be seized without a warrant as well. To get a judge to issue a warrant, the officer must provide details showing why the warrant should be issued.

Probable cause is when an officer or a “reasonable person” could prove that an individual was planning or had committed a crime. In these cases, an officer can prove probable cause based off of what he knows or can observe. For example, of a car does not have a license plate, a police officer has probable cause to pull over a driver for violating the law stating that a plate must be visible.

Understanding reasonable suspicion

Reasonable suspicion dates back to 1968 when the Supreme Court ruled in a case concerning a case in Ohio. The ruling provided law enforcement to detain an individual during a traffic stop.

For this to be valid, the arresting officer must have reason to believe that the person being arrested was planning to or was engaging in a crime. This can solely be based off of a police officer’s training and experience in recognizing such activity.

As part of this Supreme Court ruling, police officers are permitted to frisk a person without violating a citizen’s rights under the fourth amendment. This allows police officers to search for a weapon if they believe the individual might be dangerous if they retained that weapon.

Reasonable suspicion was deemed any “sort of common sense conclusion about human behavior” under the Supreme Court ruling. This cannot simply be a hunch but should be backed by some sort of evidence that something isn’t right.

Prior court cases make reasonable suspicion difficult to defend. Another court case from 2000 ruled that a person who had evaded or fled from police created reasonable suspicion that the individual had committed a crime or was planning to do so. The lack of clear black and white definition of reasonable suspicion means that it can be used against you during a traffic stop and result in search and seizure of your property.

Defending yourself with an Arizona DUI attorney

If you believe that you were unlawfully detained or searched during a traffic stop resulting in a DUI, you should certainly hire an attorney to defend your case. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your DUI charges, an Arizona DUI attorney is your best chance at reducing or eliminating your chances of being sentenced.  Click here for information as to how to get your license back after DUI.