Supreme Court Decision Authorizes Police Officers to Pull Over Drivers for ‘Less Than’ Probable Cause

Published by Matt Fishman on

A Supreme Court case decided today will allow police officers to pull over drivers on “suspicion… less than that necessary for probable cause”.

In this case, after running a vehicle’s license plate and learning that the registered owner’s driver’s license had been revoked, an officer made an investigative traffic stop without complete confirmation that the
owner was driving the vehicle. Today’s decision declared that “the deputy’s commonsense inference that the owner of a vehicle was likely the vehicle’s driver provided more than reasonable suspicion to initiate the stop.”

As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision, a police officer “may initiate a brief investigative traffic stop when he has “a particularized and objective basis” to suspect legal wrongdoing”, based on “commonsense judgments”.

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