What is reasonable suspicion? Can police just randomly search my vehicle?

If you are stopped by the police, they are not allowed to search your vehicle unless they have good reason to suspect that you or anyone in your vehicle may be in possession of an illegal substance or items.

What constitutes reasonable suspicion?

Under s. 36 (1) of the Law Enforcement Legislation Amendment (Public Safety) Act 2005, police have powers to stop, search and detain vehicles if they suspect on reasonable grounds that the vehicle has or may have been used in the commission of an offence may it be illegal drugs or even firearms.

The leading case in this area of law: R v. Rondo

The above gives rise to the concept of reasonable suspicion which is an important part of making the connection between being able to search you or your vehicle. As described in the case of R v. Rondo, reasonable suspicion involves less than a reasonable belief but more than a possibility.

Similarly, any suspicion needs to have a factual basis for the suspicion to be shown. In this case it was decided that there must be something which would create in the mind of a reasonable person an apprehension or fear of one of the state of affairs. All evidence must therefore be considered in the context of what a reasonable person would believe to be suspicious.

What is not considered reasonable suspicion?

police must have a factual basis that leads to a suspicion at a time when they wish to carry out a search of your person or your vehicle, reasonable suspicion would not be satisfied based on prior drug or criminal convictions that you may have on your record. reasonable suspicion would also not be satisfied just because the police officer feels you are nervous or are with a group of friends when being questioned.

What you can do in this situation

It is paramount that should the police question you about any items in your vehicle being present because you are with a group of guys or your car attracts attention that you indicate objection to any search especially if you believe the search to be illegal. For more information on your rights in regards to other traffic matters click here.

Should you feel that any evidence the police may have obtained from you was performed so in an illegal manner and that you have been searched without reasonable suspicion, it could lead to charges against you being dismissed in a court of law. If you or anyone you know feels that there property has been illegally searched by the police then call LY Lawyers the criminal and traffic law experts on 1300 595 299.