Were you speeding? Were you swerving? Were you following too closely? What did you do? Why were you just pulled over?
In order for an officer to conduct a traffic stop that is justified, and what is commonly referred to as "reasonable," under the Constitutional provisions mentioned in this blog, there must be a reasonable suspicion, based upon specific and articulable facts that a crime has been, is being or is about to be committed. In other words, an officer must be able to explain, or articulate, the basis for the seizure, or traffic stop, as it relates to the officer's concern of criminal activity. Reasonable suspicion to justify a traffic stop is more than just a hunch or belief alone without some fact, or facts, the officer can explain in order to justify the traffic stop.
The law in Tennessee concerning traffic stops is based on interpretations of the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution and Article I, Section 7, of the Tennessee Constitution. These particular sections of each of the Constitutions address what is commonly referred to as search and seizure law. Search and seizure law is often analyzed when someone is stopped, or seized, by a law enforcement officer. Not all traffic stops are "good" and not all of them are "bad".
Every single fact and circumstance matters when analyzing whether a traffic stop was reasonable. In the event there is a "bad" traffic stop, then any illegal substance or contraband discovered during the course of the stop may be subject to being suppressed. In other words, the government may be precluded from using evidence in a prosecution discovered during a "bad" traffic stop. This is important when defending allegations of DUI, drug or weapon possession.
It is vital to the defense of a case involving a traffic stop to have an attorney who is an expert in search and seizure law. If you or someone you know is charged with a criminal offense, whether misdemeanor or felony, contact Parkerson Santel PLLC at 615-956-7938 to begin your defense immediately.