Reasonable suspicion

Reasonable suspicion is a legal standard of proof in United States law that is less than probable cause, the legal standard for arrests and warrants, but more than an "inchoate and unparticularized suspicion or 'hunch'";[1] it must be based on "specific and articulable facts", "taken together with rational inferences from those facts",[2] and the suspicion must be associated with the specific individual.[3] If police additionally have reasonable suspicion that a person so detained is armed and dangerous, they may "frisk" the person for weapons, but not for contraband like drugs. However, if the police develop probable cause during a weapons frisk (by feeling something that could be a weapon or contraband, for example), they can then search you. Reasonable suspicion is evaluated using the "reasonable person" or "reasonable officer" standard,[4] in which said person in the same circumstances could reasonably suspect a person has been, is, or is about to be engaged in criminal activity; it depends upon the totality of circumstances, and can result from a combination of particular facts, even if each is individually innocuous.


In Terry v. Ohio, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a person can be stopped and briefly detained by a police officer based on a reasonable suspicion of involvement in a punishable crime. If the officer has reasonable suspicion the detainee is armed, the officer may perform a "pat-down" of the person's outer garments for weapons. Such a detention does not violate the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizure, though it must be brief. Reasonable suspicion does not provide grounds for arrest; however, an arrest can be made if facts discovered during the detention provide probable cause that the suspect has committed a crime. (Note: Probable cause cannot be after the fact. Any added probable cause after the fact would be inadmissible in a court of law.)

In Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada the Court further established that a state may require, by law, that a person verbally identify himself or herself to an officer during a stop;[5] some states (e.g., Colorado[6]) require that a person detained provide additional information.

Other uses

Traffic stops

A brief, non-custodial traffic stop is considered a "seizure" for the purposes of the 4th Amendment and must therefore be supported by reasonable suspicion or probable cause. The investigating officer must weigh the totality of the circumstances to determine whether sufficient objective facts exist to create reasonable suspicion that the driver is engaged in criminal activity.[7] If the investigating officer witnesses the driver commit a traffic violation, then said violation generally constitutes reasonable suspicion for the officer to stop the vehicle. The officer may detain the driver and any passengers of the vehicle for long enough to confirm and/or deny his or her suspicions.

If his or her suspicions are confirmed, then there may be probable cause to either search the vehicle and/or arrest its occupant(s), depending on the nature of the suspected violations. In Illinois v. Caballes, the Supreme Court held that a drug dog may sniff the exterior of a vehicle during a traffic stop so long as any delay in calling the dog to the scene does not unreasonably prolong the traffic stop. The use of a drug dog is sui generis and a dog's sniff is not considered a search in and of itself under the 4th Amendment.[8]

Police may also set up roadblocks and stop drivers without particularized reasonable suspicion that the stopped individual is engaged in criminal activity, so long as the plan for the stop is applied neutrally, for instance, driving while intoxicated - so long as all vehicles are stopped or every third vehicle is stopped, or some other reasonably neutral policy is applied for stopping vehicles.[9] Note that some states also impose additional notice requirements for roadblocks, such as appropriate signage and/or flashing blue or red lights.


New Jersey has set the precedent that probable cause is not necessary to search a student on school grounds; reasonable suspicion is enough to search a student's belongings.[10] Overly intrusive searches, like a body cavity search, require probable cause.

Government workplaces

A few years after New Jersey v. T. L. O., the Supreme Court held in O'Connor v. Ortega that while government employees do have Fourth Amendment rights in the workplace, administrative investigations conducted by supervisors looking for evidence of work-related misconduct or violations of an employee policy – unlike investigations by law enforcement looking for evidence of criminal offenses – only require reasonable suspicion to justify a search.[11]

Private workplaces

Many private employers also use reasonable suspicion in private workplaces to drug and alcohol test their employees. According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), employers must provide training to all persons who supervise drivers subject to the regulations, in accordance with §382.603. The purpose of this training is to enable supervisors to determine whether reasonable suspicion exists to require a driver or other safety-sensitive employee to undergo testing described in §382.307. The consequences of not completing the mandated minimum training can, at the least, result in fines and penalties and at the worst serious injuries and liability.[12]


U.S. Customs can do routine suspicionless searches of people and effects crossing the border (including passing through airport customs) without establishing reasonable suspicion. This includes even complicated searches such as the disassembly of an automobile's gas tank.[13] However, there are some more intrusive types of searches, such as body cavity searches of a suspect balloon swallower, that require reasonable suspicion.[14][15]

Different jurisdictions

Most powers applied by police officers in the United Kingdom are done on reasonable suspicion. Unlike in the United States, police officers in England and Wales can arrest on reasonable suspicion.

Child abuse

Most state child abuse reporting laws employ the "reasonable suspicion" standard as the threshold above which mandated reporters must report the case. However, the definition of this term is not widely understood.[16][17][18] As a result there is large variation in the rates of child abuse reporting in different states.[19]


A police officer may briefly detain a person, without a warrant, if the officer has reasonable suspicion that the person is involved in a crime,[20] and an officer may use reasonable force to effect that detention. Courts have recognized that an officer's safety is paramount and have allowed for a "frisk" of the outermost garments from head to toe if the officer reasonably suspects that the detainee is armed, and for an officer to stop an individual at gunpoint if necessary. In the city of New York, once a person is released from a reasonable suspicion stop, a "stop, question and frisk report" is filled out and filed with the command in which the stop occurs.

U.S. courts have held that a stop on reasonable suspicion may be appropriate in the following cases: when a person possesses unusual items (like a wire hanger) which would be useful in a crime and is looking into car windows at 2 am, when a person matches a description of a suspect given by another officer, or a person is seen fleeing from a home or business with a sounding alarm. However, reasonable suspicion does not apply merely because a person refuses to answer questions, declines to allow a voluntary search, or is of a particular race or ethnicity.[21]

See also


  1. ^ Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 27 (1968).
  2. ^ Terry, 392 U.S., at 21.
  3. ^ Ybarra v. Illinois, 444 U.S. 85, 91 (1979).
  4. ^ Terry, 392 U.S., at 21–22.
  5. ^ Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, 542 U.S. 177 (2004).
  6. ^ Colo. Rev. Stat. §16-3-103(1).
  7. ^ United States v. Arvizu, 534 U.S. 266 (2002).
  8. ^ Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U.S. 405, 411 (2005).
  9. ^ Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444 (1990).
  10. ^ New Jersey v. T. L. O.,
  11. ^ O'Connor v. Ortega, 480 U.S. 709 (1987).
  13. ^ United States v. Flores-Montano, 541 U.S. 149 (2004).
  14. ^ United States v. Montoya De Hernandez, 473 U.S. 531 (1985).
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ Levi, B.H. and S.G. Portwood, Reasonable suspicion of child abuse: finding a common language. J Law Med Ethics, 2011. 39(1): pp. 62–9.
  17. ^ Levi, B.H. and K. Crowell, Child abuse experts disagree about the threshold for mandated reporting. 2011. 50(4): pp. 321–9.
  18. ^ Flaherty, E.G. and R. Sege, Barriers to physician identification and reporting of child abuse. Pediatr Ann, 2005. 34(5): pp. 349–56.
  19. ^ Kids Count Data. 2009.
  20. ^ Terry, 392 U.S.
  21. ^ Sheriff Rob Gordon (2008). "Search and Seizure Field Guide" (PDF). Washington County Sheriff's Office. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
Border search exception

In United States criminal law, the border search exception is a doctrine that allows searches and seizures at international borders and their functional equivalent without a warrant or probable cause. The doctrine is not regarded as an exception to the Fourth Amendment, but rather to its requirement for a warrant or probable cause. Balanced against the sovereign's interests at the border are the Fourth Amendment rights of entrants. Not only is the expectation of privacy less at the border than in the interior, the Fourth Amendment balance between the interests of the government and the privacy right of the individual is also struck much more favorably to the government at the border. This balance at international borders means that routine searches are "reasonable" there, and therefore do not violate the Fourth Amendment's proscription against "unreasonable searches and seizures".

Federal law allows certain federal agents to conduct search and seizures within 100 miles of the border into the interior of the United States. The Supreme Court has clearly and repeatedly confirmed that the border search exception applies within 100 miles of the border of the United States as seen in cases such as United States v. Martinez-Fuerte where it was held that the Border Patrol's routine stopping of a vehicle at a permanent checkpoint located on a major highway away from the Mexican border for brief questioning of the vehicle's occupants is consistent with the Fourth Amendment. However, searches of automobiles without a warrant by roving patrols have been deemed unconstitutional.The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers, U.S. Border Patrol agents, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agents, and U.S. Coast Guard officers (E4 grade and above) who are all customs officers (those tasked with enforcing Title 19 of the United States Code) with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, are permitted to search travelers and their belongings at the American border without probable cause or a warrant. Pursuant to this authority, customs officers may generally stop and search the property of any traveler entering the United States at random, or even based largely on ethnic profiles.

Brown v. Texas

Brown v. Texas, 443 U.S. 47 (1979), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court determined that the defendant's arrest in El Paso, Texas, for a refusal to identify himself, after being seen and questioned in a high crime area, was not based on a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing and thus violated the Fourth Amendment. It is an important case for Stop and Identify statutes in the United States.The decision was written by Chief Justice Warren Burger and unanimously supported by the other justices. His summary of the factual elements of the case includes the following:

Two, while cruising near noon in a patrol car, observed appellant and another man walking away from one another in an alley in an area with a high incidence of drug traffic. They stopped and asked appellant to identify himself and explain what he was doing. One officer testified that he stopped appellant because the situation "looked suspicious and we had never seen that subject in that area before." The officers did not claim to suspect appellant of any specific misconduct, nor did they have any reason to believe that he was armed. When appellant refused to identify himself, he was arrested for violation of a Texas statute which makes it a criminal act for a person to refuse to give his name and address to an officer "who has lawfully stopped him and requested the information."

The finding held that:

The application of the Texas statute to detain appellant and require him to identify himself violated the Fourth Amendment because the officers lacked any reasonable suspicion to believe that appellant was engaged or had engaged in criminal conduct. Detaining appellant to require him to identify himself constituted a seizure of his person subject to the requirement of the Fourth Amendment that the seizure be "reasonable."

While the application of the relevant Texas law was held unconstitutional in the case, the constitutional status of the law itself was not addressed.

Consent search

Consent searches (or consensual searches) are searches made by police officers in the United States based on the voluntary consent of the individual whose person or property is being searched. The simplest and most common type of warrantless searches in the United States are searches based upon consent. No warrant, probable cause or reasonable suspicion is required to perform a search if a person, or someone else with the proper authority, consents to a search.

A consent search assumes the individual, whose person or property is being searched, is aware that they have the right to refuse a search in a situation when confronted by law enforcement agents. By giving consent they are assumed to waive, freely and voluntarily, his or her Fourth Amendment rights, granting the officer permission to perform the search. Where consent is obtained through "deception" on the part of the police officer, the search may be determined to be an unreasonable search in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

The three main categories of searches are a search of a house, automobile or pedestrian. In the case of an automobile, it is assumed the officer has already seized the car and the encounter is a terry stop. When an officer returns a driver's identification, the encounter has been transformed into a consensual encounter. In the case of a pedestrian, a consensual encounter can lead to a terry stop based on information gathered during conversation. Some states and cities pass laws that require officer to notify a right to refuse in one case, but not the others.

The person has the right to refuse to give consent, and except in limited cases may revoke consent at any point during the search. In addition, the prosecution in any trial using the search results as evidence is required to prove that the consent was voluntary and not a result of coercion.In contrast to Miranda rights, officers conducting a consent search are not required to warn people of their right to withhold consent in order for consent to be valid, as determined by the U.S. Supreme Court in Schneckloth v. Bustamonte. Police are not required to conduct a search in a way that gives the individual an opportunity to revoke consent, as determined in United States v. Rich, where the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected the argument that “officials must conduct all searches in plain view of the suspect, and in a manner slowly enough that he may withdraw or delimit his consent at any time during the search.”

Delaware v. Prouse

Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648 (1979), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that police may not stop motorists without any reasonable suspicion to suspect crime or illegal activity to check their driver's license and auto registration.

Doctrine of bias in Singapore law

Bias is one of the grounds of judicial review in Singapore administrative law which a person can rely upon to challenge the judgment of a court or tribunal, or a public authority's action or decision. There are three forms of bias, namely, actual, imputed and apparent bias.

If actual bias on the part of an adjudicator can be proved, the High Court can quash the decision. Cases of actual bias are rare due to the difficulty of proving the existence of a prejudiced judicial mindset. Imputed bias arises when a decision-maker has a pecuniary (monetary) or proprietary (property related) interest in the decision he or she is charged to adjudicate. The courts have also extended the category of imputed bias to situations where adjudicators have personal, non-pecuniary interests in decisions. The existence of a situation leading to an imputation of bias warrants the decision-maker being automatically disqualified.

Even if actual or imputed bias cannot be proved, an appearance of bias is sufficient for a judgment or decision to be set aside. The legal test for establishing apparent bias in Singapore has been the subject of some controversy. In the cases of Jeyaretnam Joshua Benjamin v. Lee Kuan Yew (1992) and Tang Liang Hong v. Lee Kuan Yew (1997), the Court of Appeal stated that the test should be "reasonable suspicion", that is, the court should ask itself whether "a reasonable and fair-minded person sitting in court and knowing all the relevant facts [would] have a reasonable suspicion that a fair trial for the applicant was not possible". However, after a number of cases which established that a "real likelihood" test should be applied in the UK, the High Court in Tang Kin Hwa v. Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board (2005) expressed the obiter view that there was in fact no material difference between the two tests. In Re Shankar Alan s/o Anant Kulkarni (2006), a different High Court judge disagreed with this view, holding that the reasonable suspicion test is less stringent as it requires a lower standard of proof than satisfaction on a balance of probabilities. He expressed preference for the reasonable suspicion test over the real likelihood test. As of January 2013, the Court of Appeal had not yet ruled on the matter.

Illinois v. Wardlow

Illinois v. Wardlow, 528 U.S. 119 (2000), is a case decided before the United States Supreme Court involving U.S. criminal procedure regarding searches and seizures.

Navarette v. California

Navarette v. California, 572 U.S. 393 (2014), was a case in which the United States Supreme Court clarified when police officers may make arrests or conduct temporary detentions based on information provided by anonymous tips. In 2008, police in California received a 911 call that a pickup truck was driving recklessly along a rural highway. Officers spotted a truck matching the description provided in the 911 call and followed the truck for five minutes, but did not observe any suspicious behavior. Nevertheless, officers conducted a traffic stop and discovered 30 pounds (14 kg) of marijuana in the truck. At trial, the occupants of the car argued that the traffic stop violated the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, because the tip was unreliable, and officers did not personally observe criminal activity. Writing for a majority of the Court, Justice Clarence Thomas held that the 911 call was reliable, and that officers need not personally observe criminal activity when acting upon information provided by an anonymous 911 call.

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a "scathing" dissenting opinion, in which he argued that the tip was unreliable, and that the majority's opinion threatened the freedom and liberty of all citizens. Likewise, many commentators have noted Navarette represented a departure from earlier precedent, and that the opinion opened the door for expansive new police powers. Some commentators have also noted that the case leaves open several important questions, including the unanswered question of whether anonymous reports of extremely dangerous behavior require fewer indicia of reliability before police may act upon those reports. Other scholars have argued it was highly unlikely that Lorenzo and Jose Prado Navarette were actually driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they were stopped by police.

Probable cause

In United States criminal law, probable cause is the standard by which police authorities have reason to obtain a warrant for the arrest of a suspected criminal or the issuing of a search warrant. It is also the standard by which grand juries issue criminal indictments. The principle behind the standard is to limit the power of authorities to perform random or abusive searches (unlawful search and seizure), and to promote lawful evidence gathering and procedural form during criminal arrest and prosecution. The standard also applies to personal or property searches.The term comes from the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Probable in this case may relate to statistical probability or to a general standard of common behavior and customs. The context of the word probable here is not exclusive to community standards, and could partially derive from its use in formal mathematical statistics as some have suggested; but cf. probō, Latin etymology.In U.S. immigration proceedings, the “reason to believe” standard has been interpreted as equivalent to probable cause.

Re Shankar Alan s/o Anant Kulkarni

Re Shankar Alan s/o Anant Kulkarni was a 2006 administrative law judgment in which the High Court of Singapore quashed a decision made by the Disciplinary Committee of the Law Society of Singapore against a lawyer, Alan Shankar s/o (son of) Anant Kulkarni. The Disciplinary Committee had found Shankar, who was a solicitor, guilty of grossly improper misconduct under the Legal Profession Act. Shankar applied to the High Court for judicial review on the ground that the Committee's ruling was affected by apparent bias.

Judicial Commissioner Sundaresh Menon considered the differences between two commonly used tests for apparent bias: the "real likelihood" and "reasonable suspicion" tests. He held that there were notable differences between the two tests, contrary to the previous view taken by a different High Court judge in Tang Kin Hwa v. Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board (2005). He took the view that the reasonable suspicion test was the applicable test in Singapore.

Two other legal issues were also considered, namely, whether the Disciplinary Committee had applied the wrong standard of proof, and whether it had shown a sufficient degree of detachment. Menon eventually decided the case in favour of Shankar and quashed the Committee's ruling.

Reasonable and probable grounds in Australia

Reasonable and probable grounds is most prominent in the law that regulates police officers, as the precondition behind the exercise of certain powers in their function as enforcers of law. Constructed from the Australian common law, it is a prerequisite to most police powers including; arresting without a warrant, searching without a warrant, requesting disclosure of identity, and for investigating terrorist activity. In Canada, it is defined as the point where probability replaces suspicion based on a reasonable belief. Reasonableness is construed as a legitimate expectation in the existence of certain facts. The belief in certain facts can be "reasonable without being probable". In Australia, it is less clearly defined. It depends on the circumstances of the case, rather than the reasonable and probable grounds in itself. More often than not it involves a common-sense assessment of the circumstances of a potential crime.

In the scope of the law, there is an overarching doctrine of reasonableness. It is derived from the hypothetical legal reasonable person, a standard by which the law is explained to the jury. The reasonable person, and reasonableness itself, extends to the concept of reasonable and probable grounds as a justification for the exercise of power or discretion. Reasonable and probable grounds differ from that of the reasonable person, by virtue of the fact that it is separately accounted for in the law, distinct from the reasonable person and the test of reason. There are explicit references to 'reasonable and probable grounds' in common law judgments, and in statutory authorities, across both State and Federal jurisdiction.

The concept of reasonable and probable grounds was introduced to the Australian legal system at the turn of the 21st century, and continues to develop in Australian law. Inconsistencies about what is reasonable and probable to a person still remain, however.

Rodriguez v. United States

Rodriguez v. United States, 575 U.S. ___ (2015), was a United States Supreme Court case which analyzed whether police officers may extend the length of a traffic stop to conduct a search with a trained detection dog. In a 6–3 opinion, the Court held that officers may not extend the length of a traffic stop to conduct a dog sniff unrelated to the original purpose of the stop. However, the Court remanded the case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to determine whether the officer's extension of the traffic stop was independently justified by reasonable suspicion. Some analysts have suggested that the Court's decision to limit police authority was influenced by ongoing protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

Suspicion (emotion)

Suspicion is a cognition of mistrust in which a person doubts the honesty of another person or believes another person to be guilty of some type of wrongdoing or crime, but without sure proof. Suspicion can also be aroused in response to objects that negatively differ from an expected idea. In the US, the courts use the term "reasonable suspicion" in connection with the right of the police to stop people on the street. The word comes from Middle-English via the Old French word "suspicion", which is a variation of the Italian word "sospetto" (a derivative of the Latin term "suspectio", which means "to watch").

Terry stop

A Terry stop in the United States allows the police to briefly detain a person based on reasonable suspicion of involvement in criminal activity. Reasonable suspicion is a lower standard than probable cause which is needed for arrest. When police stop and search a pedestrian, this is commonly known as a stop and frisk. When police stop an automobile, this is known as a traffic stop. If the police stop a motor vehicle on minor infringements in order to investigate other suspected criminal activity, this is known as a pretextual stop. Additional rules apply to stops that occur on a bus.There is a difference between one police officer stopping one individual, which is a tactical definition, and systematic promotion of this tactic on either the departmental or municipal level, which can damage police–community trust and lead to charges of racial profiling.

Although the Supreme Court has published many cases that define the intersection between policing and the Fourth Amendment in America, the U.S. Congress has not defined a baseline for police behavior. There has been some state action at both the legislative and judicial levels, and also some cities have passed laws on these issues. Except where noted, this article will primarily deal with these issues on a national level. Local and state laws may vary, but that is the exception and not the rule.

Terry v. Ohio

Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), was a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in which the Court ruled that the Fourth Amendment's prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures is not violated when a police officer stops a suspect on the street and frisks him or her without probable cause to arrest, if the police officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime and has a reasonable belief that the person "may be armed and presently dangerous."

For their own protection, after a person has been stopped, police may perform a quick surface search of the person's outer clothing for weapons if they have reasonable suspicion that the person stopped is armed. This reasonable suspicion must be based on "specific and articulable facts" and not merely upon an officer's hunch. This permitted police action has subsequently been referred to in short as a "stop and frisk," or simply a "Terry frisk". The Terry standard was later extended to temporary detentions of persons in vehicles, known as traffic stops; see Terry stop for a summary of subsequent jurisprudence.The rationale behind the Supreme Court decision revolves around the understanding that, as the opinion notes, "the exclusionary rule has its limitations." The meaning of the rule is to protect persons from unreasonable searches and seizures aimed at gathering evidence, not searches and seizures for other purposes (like prevention of crime or personal protection of police officers).

Totality of the circumstances

In the law, the totality of the circumstances test refers to a method of analysis where decisions are based on all available information rather than bright-line rules. Under the totality of the circumstances test, courts focus "on all the circumstances of a particular case, rather than any one factor". In the United States, totality tests are used as a method of analysis in several different areas of the law. For example, in United States criminal law, a determination about reasonable suspicion or probable cause is based on a consideration of the totality of the circumstances.

United States v. Brignoni-Ponce

United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U.S. 873 (1975), was the case in which the Supreme Court determined it was a violation of the Fourth Amendment for a roving patrol car to stop a vehicle solely on the basis of the driver appearing to be of Mexican descent. A roving patrol car must have articulable facts that allow for an officer to have a reasonable suspicion that the person is carrying illegal aliens beyond their ethnicity. The Court handed down a 9-0 decision that affirmed the Circuit Court’s ruling in the case.

United States v. Cotterman

United States v. Cotterman, (9th Cir. en banc 2013), is a United States court case in which the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that property, such as a laptop and other electronic storage devices, presented for inspection when entering the United States at the border may not be subject to forensic examination without a reason for suspicion, a holding that weakened the border search exception of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

United States v. Montoya De Hernandez

United States v. Montoya De Hernandez, 473 U.S. 531 (1985), was a U.S. Supreme Court case regarding the Fourth Amendment's border search exception and balloon swallowing.

Whren v. United States

Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806 (1996), was a unanimous United States Supreme Court decision that "declared that any traffic offense committed by a driver was a legitimate legal basis for a stop."In an opinion authored by Antonin Scalia, the court held that a search and seizure is not a violation of the Fourth Amendment in cases where the police officers have a "reasonable suspicion" that a traffic violation has occurred. The personal, or subjective, motives of an officer are not a factor in the Court's Fourth Amendment analysis of whether the cause for a stop is sufficient. The standard for reasonable suspicion is purely an objective one.A main concern with this case is that police conducting traffic stops may profile based on race. It also interprets the Fourth Amendment. Both petitioners believe that the traffic stop did not warrant a search of their vehicle and their arrest. Similar to the complaints and outrage about New York City's Stop and Frisk program, some believe that the ruling in Whren v. United States will lead to an increase in racial profiling towards young African American males.

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