The United States is a demographically, ethnically and racially diverse society. Crime, poverty and unemployment tend to be considerably higher in some areas versus others.
Law enforcement agencies tend to let socio-economic, and crime data dictate where they focus their efforts. This often leads police to narrow in particular communities over others.
What is predictive profiling?
Law enforcement allows crime statistics to reinforce their use of predictive profiling. This concept has to do with predicting who is likely to commit a crime based upon a person’s physical and mental characteristics. These determiners may include age, gender, style of dress, ethnicity and manner of behavior.
One of the most common ways police officers engage in predictive profiling is through traffic stops. Law enforcement is supposed to pull over a vehicle for a valid reason, such as observing a traffic infraction, expired license plate or pursuant to the report of a stolen vehicle. Although it’s unlawful, many law enforcement officers allow racial profiling to impact who they pull over.
Any motorist that operates a car that’s older or that maybe an officer thinks is “too nice” for them may lead to them getting pulled over by the police. The officer gains the right to look at anything in plain view, question those in the vehicle and ask for identification once they pull a vehicle over. Even still, an officer cannot search the vehicle unless they have probable cause or the driver gives consent.
A person may refuse to authorize a search of their vehicle. However, law enforcement may detain the person for a “reasonable” amount of time, which is vaguely defined. Courts have ruled that up to 90 minutes of detainment may be permissible in some instances.
Once an officer stops a motorist, their observation of weapons or contraband in plain view may give them probable cause to carry out a full search of the vehicle and the occupants inside without consent. A drug-sniffing dog “alerting” cops to the presence of drugs in the car may also authorize them to perform a search.
Has predictive profiling resulted in your arrest?
You’ll want to better understand what predictive profiling is and how it may have resulted in your stop and arrest if you’re facing criminal charges. If your attorney advises you that your stop was unlawful, this could impact your case’s outcome.