Defining Reasonable Suspicion


Texas law requires that the law enforcement officer who stops a driver have a reasonable suspicion to believe that the driver has committed a traffic offense, is driving while intoxicated (DWI), or is driving under the influence of narcotics (DUI). It is this reasonable suspicion that gives the officer the legal authority to pull over the driver. After the officer has stopped the vehicle, he or she can ask the driver to undergo a breath or blood test if he or she has reasonable suspicion that the driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs. Absent reasonable suspicion, the law enforcement officer’s stop is likely illegal, and any evidence that comes out of the stop, such as breath or blood test results or statements by the driver, may not be admissible in court.

person getting pat down

Defining Reasonable Suspicion

It is not enough for a police officer to have a hunch or merely suspect that a driver has committed a traffic offense or crime. Rather, the police must have concrete, specific facts to justify the traffic stop. If a police officer doesn’t have reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop, then the stop is illegal under Texas law. Ultimately, it is up to a judge to determine whether a police officer had reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle.

Sobriety checkpoints, however, are an exception to the reasonable suspicion standard for a police officer to pull over a vehicle. Law enforcement in Texas and many other states can and often do set up these checkpoints during busy holiday weekends, such as Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. During these checkpoints, police officers will stop a random number of vehicles, such as every fifth or tenth vehicle that passes by the checkpoint.

The criminal defense lawyers of Peek Law Group have handled the legal defense of countless individuals who are facing criminal charges, including charges of resisting arrest. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 399-2311 to set up an appointment with our criminal defense attorneys today.

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