In a legal context, suspicion refers to a belief or feeling that a person may be guilty of a crime or has committed an illegal act, but without enough evidence to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. It is a lower standard of proof than “probable cause,” which is the standard of evidence needed to justify an arrest or search.

A police officer may stop and briefly detain a person if they have a reasonable suspicion that the person is involved in criminal activity. The officer must be able to articulate specific and articulable facts that support the suspicion. This allows the officer to investigate further and determine whether there is probable cause to make an arrest or search.

It’s important to note that suspicion alone is not enough to justify an arrest or search. An officer must have probable cause or a warrant to make an arrest or conduct a search.

Suspicion also plays a role in some legal proceedings, for instance in some civil or administrative proceedings, there might be a lower standard of proof like “preponderance of evidence” or “clear and convincing evidence”, which are lower than the criminal standard of “beyond reasonable doubt” but higher than mere suspicion.