Probable Cause under Texas State Law

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Probable Cause under Texas State Law

If I’m sitting in my vehicle in the parking lot of the bank waiting for someone who’s trying to open a bank account, but this is the third day in a row that I’ve been to this bank with people that were trying to open an account, and the bank personnel feels as if I’m casing the bank in an attempt to rob them. Does that qualify as reasonable suspicion for the police to detain me & search my vehicle without my consent under Texas State Law?

Asked on April 21, 2009 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Probably, yes. This isn't necessarily just a statutory issue but also a practice and experience of Texas police officers and also possible case law.

If you aren't liable for anything (i.e., they didn't find anything in your car), you should be all set.  If they found something (drugs, weapons, etc), I say in this situation you are going to be hard pressed to convince a judge or prosecutor to drop charges when it was reasonable for the bank and thus the police to believe you were "casing" the bank.

Because you were in your car, the police may have an exception to the search warrant to detain you and search your vehicle.  In questioning you (I assume they did this first), they must have then had additional reasonable suspicion or probable cause to search your car.

Texas Law:

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/SOTWDocs/CR/pdf/CR.18.pdf

Also, most the exceptions to the warrant requirement are based on case law. 

 

Reasonable suspicion is pretty well described and discussed in this case: http://www.cca.courts.state.tx.us/OPINIONS/HTMLOPINIONINFO.ASP?OPINIONID=16102

 

If you need a lawyer, try www.attorneypages.com.  Maybe her or she knows what could possibly void the results of the search.


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