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Second Tier Encounters

In Georgia, as elsewhere, a second tier encounter is somewhat different than a first tier encounter. An officer must have what is called a Reasonable Articulable Suspicion that you either are or are about to engage in criminal activity.


A common example of Reasonable Articulable Suspicion arises when an officer observes a vehicle "weaving within its lane of travel." This is not a violation of the law. However, Georgia Appellate Courts have said that if the officer has training that indicates a driver who commits this act might be DUI, then that is Reasonable Articulable Suspicion to stop the car.


If the officer has this Articulable Suspicion, then he can briefly detain you to question you. In certain circumstances he might be able to conduct a "pat down" search. It is possible that your words or conduct during this brief detention could provide him with probable cause to search you. If he finds contraband, you will be arrested.

It is important to remember that the officer must be able to come to court and articulate what his reasonable suspicion was. He must have a legally permissible suspicion. His failure to communicate a reasonable suspicion in court would result in the case being dismissed.

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