Detention of an Individual

The temporary detention of an individual is different than an actual arrest. An officer may temporarily detain an individual for the purpose of investigating whether a criminal activity is in progress.

Reasonable Suspicious” to Detain an Individual

A detention is reasonable when the detaining officer can point to specific articulable facts that, considered in light of the totality of the surrounding circumstances, provide some objective manifestation that the person detained may be involved in criminal activity.

An officer’s reasonable suspicion may be justifiable even if the conduct in question has an innocent explanation.

“Reasonable suspicion” can be established with information that is different in quantity or content than that required to establish probable cause. Furthermore, “reasonable suspicion” can arise from information that is less reliable than that which is required to establish probable cause.

Temporary Detention May Only Last for Reasonable Amount of Time

An investigatory stop exceeds constitutional bounds when extended beyond what is reasonably necessary under the circumstances that made its initiation permissible.

Circumstances which develop during a detention may provide reasonable suspicion to prolong the detention.

There is no set time limit for a temporary investigative stop. The question is whether the officer diligently pursued his investigation in order to quickly dispel or confirm his suspicion of criminal activity. A few seconds will almost never be deemed a detention. A few minutes can certainly be looked at as a detention, depending on the circumstances. The bottom line is whether the individual, in his own mind, felt that he was free to leave or not.

Search Incident To Arrest

As we stated at the outset of this module, our Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is often the guiding principle in our legal system. All violations of the rule result in the penalty of the Exclusionary Rule, previously discussed. The rationale is that the violation has “poisoned the tree.” Thus, any piece of evidence that flows from the illegal conduct is merely “fruit of the poisonous tree,” and must also be considered poison. That is, it is suppressed in criminal trials.

Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides the right for all people to be secure in their homes and personal effects against unreasonable searches and seizures. Specifically, the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution states:

“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.”