What Does Reasonable Articulable Suspicion Mean in Maryland?

For a Maryland police officer to pull a vehicle over, they must either observe a Maryland traffic law violation or have “reasonable articulable suspicion” that the driver is operating their vehicle not in accordance with the law. The law enforcement officer may further investigate the driver if they have reasonable articulable suspicion.

A police officer will use reasonable articulable suspicion to investigate whether a driver is under the influence of a controlled substance like alcohol or drugs. For example, when a car is swerving in their lane, an officer may conclude or judge that the person is intoxicated and will further investigate after they pull them over. This provides officers with the ability to catch someone before they commit a serious offense or harm another driver. Reasonable articulable suspicion cases can be confusing, but The Law Office of Hillel Traub can help if you have any questions.

What Is Probable Cause vs. Reasonable Suspicion?

Probable cause and reasonable suspicion have many similarities. However, there are significant differences that separate the two legal principles from one another. Consider the following to have a better understanding of their differences:

Probable Cause

For a local law enforcement officer to make an arrest, they must first have clear and objective evidence that suggests criminal activity, also known as probable cause. There must be hard evidence that points to someone acting against the law in order for an officer to arrest them. The following are examples of probable cause:

  • An informant provides information on possible criminal activity
  • An officer observes clear signs of criminal activity
  • An officer uses an expert to recognize criminal activity
  • An officer views circumstantial or indirect events that point to criminal behavior

Probable cause ensures that an officer cannot make an arrest unless there is clear evidence pointing to criminal behavior. There must be substantial proof to warrant an investigation. If an officer is unable to properly provide an explanation and proof, their investigation did not follow probable cause and may point to unfair treatment.

Reasonable Suspicion

While probable cause is based on clear proof, reasonable suspicion is more of an inclination that someone is acting against the law. However, this does not mean an officer can just pull anyone over on a hunch. They must have an explanation of why they felt inclined to pull the individual over and proceed with an investigation. Some examples include:

  • Driver fits the description of a criminal suspect who is in the area
  • Driver is swerving from one lane to another
  • Driver is either speeding or driving at an extremely slow speed
  • Individual runs from an officer in a high-crime area
  • Individual drops a suspicious item after seeing the police

If an officer does not have a proper explanation for pulling you over, they may have discriminated against you or acted improperly, meaning you may have the right to defend yourself with legal representation. Speak with a lawyer about how an officer’s reasonable articulable suspicion may not have been performed properly and infringed on your rights.

Speak With Attorney Hillel Traub for Experienced Legal Representation in Maryland

Seeing flashing blue and red lights in your rearview mirror is never a fun experience. Most people feel frightened and nervous when a police officer pulls them over. If an officer decides to investigate you for potential criminal behavior and in the process infringes on your rights, stay calm, comply with the officer, and contact Attorney Hillel Traub as soon as possible. Traub used to work for the MVA and has extensive knowledge of how these cases are handled.

The Law Office of Hillel Traub understands how challenging it is to stay calm when an officer suspects you of criminal behavior. With positive client testimonials and past results, you may trust our firm to offer highly qualified legal representation. Call (410) 580-1100 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation today.