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    Probable cause vs Reasonable suspicion

    Hello,

    me and my friend were talking about this and he claims that police officers do not have to have a probable cause do a stop and reasonable suspicion and probable cause are two different things after i said that officers need to have a probable cause to do a stop.

    this was my respond and this is how it was taught to us by our CRJ professors.

    the only difference is reasonable suspicion is a little less strict than probably cause but at the end of the day, it is the same thing! once again, when you get pulled over and ask what is the probable cause to the officer, he/she can simply say, you were acting suspicious! So at the end of the day probably cause and reasonable suspicion is pretty much the same thing.

    i.e. a cop can pull you over for littering, he had a probably cause. and a cop can pull you over for driving a unmarked crown vic with a reasonable suspicion of impersonating a police officer which is also a probable cause to him.


    can you tell me who is wrong here? and enlighten me please?

    thanks

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    Yes you can get pulled over for littering. You have broken the law and you will get a ticket.

    Driving an unmarked crown vic, by itself, is not against the law and you won't be pulled over for it.

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    If that is really what your instructor told you, he should be fired.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTAM View Post
    Yes you can get pulled over for littering. You have broken the law and you will get a ticket.

    Driving an unmarked crown vic, by itself, is not against the law and you won't be pulled over for it.
    that was just an example sir. I meant you can pull that person over with a reasonable suspicion of impersonating of a police officer. Just an example. I just want to know who is wrong here. or enlighten me on this please. thanks.

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    Reasonable suspicion is what is needed for a traffic stop, not probable cause. They are not the same thing or they'd be called the same thing. Your instructor is an idiot, bless his heart.


    I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

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    ffffffht tp://forums.officer.com/forums/shofvbsad.php?p=2134544#post2134544
    Last edited by Nobody; 03-02-2010 at 02:35 PM.

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    Guilty as sin is above probable cause, just in case you're wondering


    I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smurfette_76 View Post
    Reasonable suspicion is what is needed for a traffic stop, not probable cause. They are not the same thing or they'd be called the same thing. Your instructor is an idiot, bless his heart.
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    "You were acting suspicious!", is not reasonable suspicion.

    You were in a high crime area, you were wearing all black clothing, you were wearing a heavy coat on a warm night, you walked passed the same business four times, you ducked into the alley when you saw a police car drive by........ that is reasonable suspicion to be contacted by the police.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PRESSHRD5COPIES View Post
    "You were acting suspicious!", is not reasonable suspicion.

    You were in a high crime area, you were wearing all black clothing, you were wearing a heavy coat on a warm night, you walked passed the same business four times, you ducked into the alley when you saw a police car drive by........ that is reasonable suspicion to be contacted by the police.
    Ok, I get that, but can anyone explain Probably Cause,
    is that the same as pobable cause?
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    Quote Originally Posted by IPDBrad View Post
    Ok, I get that, but can anyone explain Probably Cause,
    is that the same as pobable cause?
    Welp, it like this here. I thought ole Bubba did it probably cause he did'n know no better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IPDBrad View Post
    Ok, I get that, but can anyone explain Probably Cause,
    is that the same as pobable cause?
    No. One couldnt be arrested for that.

    One could be detained until the officer confirms or denies their suspicion that criminal activity is afoot.

    Meaning at that point he can ask questions and I'm personally conducting a pat down of their person's based off of the above described events.

    RS does not equal PC and should not be taught that way. PC is needed for search and seizure in MOST situations....RS is needed to detain someone and investigate further.

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    Don't get too wrapped around the pole with this.

    You either just have suspicion, or you already have cause to believe a crime was committed.

    Just look at the terms, and realize that something/someone can be reasonably "suspicious", yet not necessarily illegal... That's why you investigate to find out. While with PC. you already have the facts/circumstances that something illegal has been/or is being committed...

    Either case, you still have to be able to articulate the "why" (based on the totality of circumstances) you had RS or PC... (gut feelings don't count)

    Which is what your Professor might have been trying to get at.
    Last edited by celticpilot; 01-08-2010 at 02:06 PM.
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    Your crown vic scenario wouldnt work with just that....
    Now if the driver AND the car matched a guy who had been doing that in the area, then you'd be ok for your "reasonable suspicion"
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    here is the e-mail i sent to my professor and his respond:

    From: XXXX, XXXX 5840
    Sent: Fri 1/8/2010 10:44 AM
    To: XXXXX, Michael
    Subject: Question about Probable cause


    Hi Mr. XXXXX,

    How are you? I have a question for you. I have police officers telling me that they DO NOT have to have a probable cause to do a stop. All they need is reasonable suspicion and it is something totally different than probable cause. I remember you telling us that officers have to have a probable cause. Can you please enlighten me here?

    Thank you very much and have a great day!

    .
    .
    .


    Reasonable suspicion can be a part of probable cause, however you have to have reasonable suspicion, based on facts. Example: You are parked in a parking lot of an abandoned building, or a crime has just been committed and your car fits the description. These are reasonable facts to believe that probable cause could exist. A lot of police use racial grounds for reasonable suspicion. "A black person in an all white neighborhood at night". Officers will try and use reasonable suspicion, however when it comes down to court, these are frequently thrown out if you have a decent lawyer. Police will tell you that they don't have to have it, however the courts will tell them they have to have probable cause. Suspicion can not be based on race, age or gender. However you might know, a lot of police stops are. Did this answer your question at all? Hope to see you this semester. If your around, stop and say Hi.


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    What happened to Probably Cause?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nobody View Post
    they are not the same thing. RS is below PC in the continuum
    It is not just that. For PC, you must be able to satisfy all the elements of some crime. For RS, you don't have to do that. In other the words, the criminal activity that you suspect may be afoot can be rather generalized.

    In addition, reasonable suspicion as a basis for a stop can include suspicion that an emergency or dangerous condition may be occurring, without any crime.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PRESSHRD5COPIES View Post
    "You were acting suspicious!", is not reasonable suspicion.

    You were in a high crime area, you were wearing all black clothing, you were wearing a heavy coat on a warm night, you walked passed the same business four times, you ducked into the alley when you saw a police car drive by........ that is reasonable suspicion to be contacted by the police.
    I think this pretty much sums it up. We were taught Reasonable Suspicion is what a group of "Reasonable" officers would consider enough justification, given the circumstances, to stop and seize that individual.

    Probable Cause is when you seize that person in the above example and, based on further investigation, find that subject has committed a crime. This could be something like, "What are you doing here late at night, you have any dope on you" and the subject says, "A little baggie of weed." In that case (In NM) you now have probable cause because you know that person has committed a crime.

    In the automotive case, you wouldn’t have reasonable suspicion unless a BOLO has been out. Even then we were taught to develop your own probable cause (Failure to yield, no turn signal, etc...) to CYA.

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    Your prof is obviously a liberal d bag who never worked as a cop a day in his life. As a side note, race, sex and gender can be used to establish reasonable suspicion, they just cannot be the sole factor in determing same. Ex., you have a suspect description of a 15 year old Asian female. You gonna stop a 35 year old black male. Why not? Because you're using age, sex and race to base your stop. So if I saw someone matching the description of the above girl within a reasonable time and distance of a crime--let's just say a robbery--I would stop her and find out who she is and if she has any involvement in the crime. I don't have PC to arrest her, but I certainly have reasonable suspicion to stop and talk to her. The interview, possible weapons, pocket full of cash and a witness drive by will give me PC to arrest, or she may simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time and have nothing to do with the crime.

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    I think that your professor may need to go back to class.
    1. "A lot of police use racial grounds for reasonable suspicion." - That is a pretty big generalization. Of course, most liberal professors make generalizations.

    2. "Officers will try and use reasonable suspicion, however when it comes down to court, these are frequently thrown out if you have a decent lawyer." I don’t think that this worked for the defendant in Terry v. Ohio

    3. "Suspicion can not be based on race, age or gender." So if there are three burglaries from vehicles after 10pm and the suspect is described as a white male, 20-25 years of age, last seen eastbound on Whatever Street, do I not have R/S to stop and talk to the same? What if he is one street south of the crime location. The initial broadcast said eastbound, and here he is going south. I would say that I have R/S to stop and talk with that gentleman even though I was just given age/gender/race as a description.

    4. "Suspicion can not be based on race, age or gender. However you might know, a lot of police stops are." Putting aside the outstanding use of English grammar displayed by your professor, this is another generalization. Refer to point one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jgilts View Post
    I think that your professor may need to go back to class.
    1. "A lot of police use racial grounds for reasonable suspicion." - That is a pretty big generalization. Of course, most liberal professors make generalizations.

    2. "Officers will try and use reasonable suspicion, however when it comes down to court, these are frequently thrown out if you have a decent lawyer." I don’t think that this worked for the defendant in Terry v. Ohio

    3. "Suspicion can not be based on race, age or gender." So if there are three burglaries from vehicles after 10pm and the suspect is described as a white male, 20-25 years of age, last seen eastbound on Whatever Street, do I not have R/S to stop and talk to the same? What if he is one street south of the crime location. The initial broadcast said eastbound, and here he is going south. I would say that I have R/S to stop and talk with that gentleman even though I was just given age/gender/race as a description.

    4. "Suspicion can not be based on race, age or gender. However you might know, a lot of police stops are." Putting aside the outstanding use of English grammar displayed by your professor, this is another generalization. Refer to point one.
    He is a cop. well a retired one but double dipping right now at a county here in IL as a Supervisor or something. Basically on of the big guys who is in charge of a county. I don't know his exact position but once in a class he mentioned that he had to fire a police officer that day due to some messed up stuff.

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    Here is another email from my professor:

    Reasonable suspicion is probable cause to stop someone. It has to be based on a couple of the examples I gave you below. You just can't stop anyone, you have to have facts which are all a part of probable cause. So based and what you just told me, yes they are right, however the term "reasonable" is the issue. The legal terms are almost like the bible. It is how we interpret them.

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    Sorry, but this guy doesn't know what he is talking about and you are not getting your money's worth. Shake your head up and down, say, "yes sir'" and give him the answers he wants to hear, but know that he is wrong. Proving him to be unqualified to teach whatever it is he is teaching (what is he teaching?) isn't going to acccomplish anything other than to deep six your college experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smurfette_76 View Post
    Reasonable suspicion is what is needed for a traffic stop, not probable cause. They are not the same thing or they'd be called the same thing. Your instructor is an idiot, bless his heart.
    in california you need PC for a VC violation to stop a vehicle. if you're stopping a vehicle that matches the description of a car used in a crime or whatever, RS will do.

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    Reasonable suspicion: Late at night, Walking in a business area/or residential, dark clothing, no eye contact, ducks off when police are seen. They are all BUILDING BLOCKS to make the tower of R.S. Alone none of them are reason to stop or check someone out. But combined they are.

    Probable Cause: Same blocks as above, subject has DVD player in hand, you see shattered window on building he/she is next to.

    Basically it boils down to what a normal and prudent person would believe based on the TOTALITY OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES

    Anyone view differently?

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