Probable Cause?

The following was posted via’s submit page.

Thank you so much for this resource. As a concerned civilian and academic, I feel actions such as those portrayed on this website are crucial to gaining transparency and involving the public in a check on the powers and authority of law enforcement officials. I have a quick question, however, regarding probable cause. I work at a research facility in which I am sometimes required to access the building after hours. I have been provided with verifiable identification, door keys, and codes to disarm and arm the security system. One evening I entered the facility and noticed the door was open. The door did not latch and the wind blew open, however, the alarm was armed. So, as soon as I opened the door, the alarm was sent and police from the university were called in. After a few tense moments, I was able to convince the two officers that I was not a burglar, though they demanded to run my license. I said no problem. It turns out my license was suspended because of an assessment I forgot to pay. They wanted to arrest me, as my vehicle was in the lot. I told them that I did not believe there was enough evidence that I was driving. They begrudgingly allowed me to stay out of jail, saying this was my lucky day and they couldn’t believe they were letting me go. I went home via public transit and arranged for the car to be picked up. I did not want to risk jail. The next day, I went to the auto bureau and paid my fee and had my driving privileges fully reinstated.

Later in the week, one of the police officers who was present at the “burglary” incident pulled me over after seeing me driving on campus. I asked him why he pulled me over and he said that he believed my license was suspended. I said that I disagreed with his “reasonable suspicion” and that I felt he did not have a legal right to pull me over or detain me, but I would consent to his running my license. Of course it came back legit and I went on my way.

The reason I consented to the running of my license was because I did not know for sure if my contesting his reasonable suspicion would hold up. Short of hiring a lawyer for legal advice, I have exhausted all my resources in obtaining a good answer. So, in your experiences, do you believe that an officer has reasonable suspicion and just cause to pull someone over on Friday if they knew the person’s license was suspended on Tuesday?

Sorry for the long note and thank you for your time.


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