Burris v. State

In Burris v. State, 330 Ark. 66, 954 S.W.2d 209 (1997), the Arkansas Supreme Court explained probable cause to make a traffic stop: In Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806, 116 S. Ct. 1769, 135 L. Ed. 2d 89 (1996), the United States Supreme Court recently explained that a police officer may stop and detain a motorist where the officer has probable cause to believe that a traffic violation has occurred. For example, in Wilburn v. State, 317 Ark. 73, 876 S.W.2d 555 (1994), we held that an officer had probable cause to stop a motorist when he discovered that the vehicle bore a license plate which was issued to a different car in violation of Ark. Code Ann. 27-14-306 (Repl. 1994). Thus, the relevant inquiry is whether Captain Best had probable cause to believe that Burris was committing a traffic offense at the time of the initial stop. We have previously explained that probable cause exists when the facts and circumstances within an officer's knowledge are sufficient to permit a person of reasonable caution to believe that an offense has been committed by the person suspected. Hudson v. State, 316 Ark. 360, 872 S.W.2d 68 (1994); Johnson v. State, 299 Ark. 223, 772 S.W.2d 322 (1989). In assessing the existence of probable cause, our review is liberal rather than strict. Brunson v. State, 327 Ark. 567, 940 S.W.2d 440 (1997). (330 Ark. at 71-2, 954 S.W.2d at 212.)