When Can a Police Officer Pull Me Over in Nevada?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Aug 08, 2015 | 0 Comments

Just about every driver has been pulled over by a police officer at some point in time. Usually, a police officer makes a traffic stop when there has been a traffic violation. But what is the legal standard for when the police can conduct a traffic stop in Nevada?

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits government officers from conducting unreasonable searches and seizures. This applies to arrests and traffic stops as well, and is the reason that probable cause is required.

Therefore, for a traffic stop to be legal, a police officer needs to have probable cause to pull over a vehicle. This means that a police officer must have witnessed a traffic violation or crime committed by the driver or passenger.

However, if the traffic stop is the result of a police officer's mistaken belief, it is not illegal.  In the 2014 Supreme Court case Hein v. North Carolina, the High Court ruled that if a police officer mistakenly pulls a driver over because of a misinterpretation of the law, the driver's Fourth Amendment rights have not been violated.

When 20can 20a 20police 20officer 20pull 20me 20over 20in 20nevada

An illegal traffic stop occurs when a police officer pulls over a vehicle without probable cause.  This may be done just to randomly question the driver or search the vehicle for evidence that a crime was committed. Racial profiling for drug trafficking is one example of this.

Driving under the influence (DUI) cases can often involve illegal traffic stops without probable cause. This is because it is all too easy for law enforcement to come up with just about any excuse to justify a suspicion that a driver is under the influence. 

Probable cause to pull a driver over for DUI would include:

  • Erratic swerving
  • Abrupt stops
  • Driving between lanes
  • Driving at very high or low speeds

Courts determine the legality of a traffic stop by evaluating a police officer's behavior on a step by step basis. For example:

  • What was the first thing the officer did?
  • Did the officer's actions need justification?
  • If so, what facts supported the justification?
  • Were the officer's actions appropriate based on court rulings on the required justification?
  • Did the officer conduct activity normally unrelated to the basis for the stop?
  • If so, what was that action and was it justified?

If you believe that your Fourth Amendment rights were violated by an illegal traffic stop, search or seizure, contact us to discuss the incident and explore your legal options.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Free attorney consultations...

The attorneys at Shouse Law Group bring more than 100 years collective experience fighting for individuals. We're ready to fight for you. Call us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 855-LAW-FIRM for a free case evaluation.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370