Reasonable suspicion versus probable cause overview | CRJ 325 Criminal Procedure | Strayer University

 

Week 3 Assignment – Reasonable Suspicion Versus Probable Cause

Overview 

Law enforcement officers use two methods to investigate possible criminal activity: reasonable suspicion and probable cause. Reasonable suspicion means officers have a reasonable belief, sometimes called a hunch, that criminal activity may have occurred. They have no hard evidence to support their belief. Probable cause is more concrete. Probable cause means officers are not just suspicious that criminal activity has occurred; they think it’s likely, or probable, that criminal activity has taken place. Many times reasonable suspicion may evolve into probable cause. This is not always the case, however. Initial contact between an officer and a subject often involves reasonable suspicion rather than probable cause. This is a two-part assignment. Be sure to complete both parts.

Instructions

Part 1

In Part 1 of this assignment you are required to write a one- to two-page narrative in which you: 

  • Distinguish between reasonable suspicion and probable cause.
    • Be sure to illustrate your distinctions between these two terms with examples.  
  • Develop a checklist with a series of questions to ask when assessing reasonable suspicion Versus probably cause (for example, What drew your attention to this particular person?). 
Part 2

In Part 2 of this assignment, you are required to examine the 10 scenarios contained in the Reasonable Suspicion Versus Probable Cause Template [DOCX].

  • Note: The first scenario is completed for you as an example to guide your work on the remaining nine scenarios. 

For each scenario in the template:

  1. Determine whether reasonable suspicion or probable cause applies to each scenario.
  2. Justify your determinations. 
  3. Use three sources to support your writing.
    • Choose sources that are credible, relevant, and appropriate.
    • Cite each source listed on your source page at least one time within your assignment.
    • For help with research, writing, and citation, access the library or review library guides.
    • You may use your textbook as one of your resources.  

Important: Be sure to submit your one- to two-page narrative and the completed Reasonable Suspicion Versus Probable Cause Template to the assignment submission area.   

Formatting

This course requires the use of Strayer Writing Standards. For assistance and information, please refer to the Strayer Writing Standards link in the left-hand menu of your course. Check with your professor for any additional instructions. Note the following:

  • The preferred method is for your narrative on reasonable suspicion versus probable cause to be typed, double-spaced, using Times New Roman font (size 12), with one-inch margins on all sides. The Reasonable Suspicion Versus Probable Cause Template may be single-spaced.
  • Include a cover page containing the assignment title, your name, your professor’s name, the course title, and the date. The cover page is not included in the required page length.
  • Include a source list page. Citations and references must follow SWS format. The source list page is not included in the required page length.

Learning Outcomes 

The specific course learning outcome associated with this assignment is:

  • Determine appropriate applications of reasonable suspicion and probable cause. 

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