The law on vehicle stops has several guidelines that apply for the stop to be considered legal. There is no need for a warrant or probable cause to legally stop a motor vehicle, but there must be reasonable suspicion of involvement in criminal activity. Whether an officer has reasonable suspicion will depend on the facts of the scenario as it unfolds. Once a stop takes place, whether a search is indeed warranted will also depend on the facts at hand. It is important to keep in mind that the objective guidelines are going to be supported by the subjective interpretation of the facts by the police officer conducting the stop. It is at this point that the testimony and evidence become critical in supporting any decisions made to stop and/or search a vehicle.
In this assignment, you will have an opportunity to use critical thinking skills, in combination with a media simulation, to determine what the grounds for stop and search are, and how you might handle a similar situation.
Review the Motor Vehicle â€“ Evidence and Procedure media piece, and then, prepare a three-page paper citing a minimum of two academically verified references.
In your paper:
- Assess whether reasonable suspicion or probable cause existed to stop the vehicle in the scenario.
- Analyze whether the officer should have looked to see if there was evidence of a crime before stopping the vehicle in the scenario.
- Evaluate whether the officer could have detained the occupants of the vehicle at the scene while the other officer checked the business.
- Explore whether the officer had the right to search the vehicle or whether consent from the driver is needed.
Be sure to review the Motor Vehicle Stop â€“ Evidence and Procedure Scoring Guide to ensure you understand the criteria for this assignment.
Your paper should meet the following requirements:
- Written communication: Must be free of errors that detract from the overall message.
- References: A minimum of two references.
- APA format: Format resources and citations as per current APA style and formatting guidelines.
- Length of paper: Three pages, not including the title page and the references page.
- Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12 point.