Under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, people have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, automobiles, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures. If the police conduct a warrantless search, then your attorney may be able to challenge any evidence being used against you via a motion to suppress evidence. Call Ozols Law Firm for a free consultation at 619-288-8357.Every warrantless search is presumed invalid and the burden shifts to the prosecutor to show that the circumstances justified a warrantless search. (Wilder v. Superior Court (1979) 92 Cal.App.3d 90; People v. Sedillo (1982) 135 Cal.3d 616, 623). In order to justify an investigative detention, the circumstances known to the officer must be either:

  1. that he knows that a crime has or is about to occur, or
  2. he has seen a crime occur in his presence. (In re Tony C. (1978) 21 Cal. 3d 888, 893.)

Before pulling you over, the officer needs reasonable suspicion to do so. This generally means that the officer must have seen a violation of the vehicle code. A hunch or a thought is not reasonable suspicion. For example, it is not enough for a law enforcement official to say that they saw you leaving a bar or that or that you were not walking perfectly back to their car.

Leaving a bar does not mean you were drinking, and walking erratically could mean many other things besides drinking. The courts are allowed to look at the totality of circumstances around the event but with the knowledge that one cue is not enough. A qualified DUI lawyer can spot the cop’s lack of reasonable suspicion and show that the case should be dismissed.

A law enforcement official must see an objective violation of the law, or have reasonable suspicion that a crime has or is about to occur, before an officer can detain an individual. His “subjective” opinion that an individual’s driving is unusual does not justify a detention in the absence of “objective” probable cause that there was a violation of the vehicle code. So if an cop has an opinion that someone may be drunk or an officer has an opinion that someone looks like they are doing something “sketchy”… that is NOT enough. The cop actually needs to see a violation of the code and then and only then is that enough. (People v. Loewen (1983) 35 Cal. 3d 117, 123.)

It commonly happens in practice where the cop says something like “well I believed they were drunk” with nothing else to back up their assertion. An attorney experienced in handling DUIs should be able to show the court that the officer lacked a reasonable explanation for pulling that person over, that there was no objective showing and that the case should be dismissed.

As a last resort cops will often claim “good faith.” The good faith exception is an exception carved out by the Supreme Court in United States v. Leon.  The Court held that evidence obtained in good faith by police relying upon a search warrant that subsequently is found to be deficient may be used in a criminal trial. (United States v. Leon, (1984), 468 U.S. 897.)

Motion To Suppress Results In DUI Victory For Our Client

California Vehicle Code §5200 (a) states: that when there is a vehicle in California it must have two license plates on that vehicle. However, California Vehicle Code §5200 (b) states that when a license plate is issued by another state, and that state only issues on license plate then an individual driving with one license plate is in compliance with the California Vehicle Code. The state of Florida Motor Vehicle Code, Title XX111 Section 320.06 (1)(a) which is the section that governs license plates, states that in Florida a license plate must consist of letters and numbers and only ONE license plate is issued.

In this case, Mr. X was stopped without violating any vehicle code and was stopped without reasonable suspicion. The cop noted that he did stop at the stop sign and he did not have any other reasons for the stop. Now the Officer also noted that Mr. X did not have a front license plate attached to his car. As you can see above, California Vehicle Code 5200 does say that if one does not have a front license plate then they can be pulled over.

The problem is, the police did not even know about California Vehcile Code 5200 (b). Mr. X has a Florida license plate it was obtained in Florida and he is in complete compliance with Florida law. Florida is a state which only issues one license plate and Mr. X had this single license plate fixed to the rear of his vehicle which puts him in compliance with California Vehicle Code 5200(b) and therefore there was no violation. There was no objective reason for the stop in this case. This stop was a violation of Mr. X rights, and a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The policeman tried to claim that he didn’t know the law and that this should make everything ok. He claimed he was acting in good faith because he didn’t know he was doing anything wrong and in the end Mr. X actually was driving under the influence.

Again, ignorance is not a defense and law enforcement officials should be held to the same standard as the general public. It should be presumed that law enforcement who are on traffic patrol should know the laws of the streets and when they see someone in compliance with these laws there is absolutely no objective reason to pull them over.

Under the law created by the Supreme Court, when there is an illegal search then everything after that search gets suppressed. It’s called the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine. The idea is that now the officer tainted the tree because of their illegal search, so anything growing off that tree is now poisonous and should never be used in a court hearing.

Ozols Law Firm got this case dismissed before trial. He won the 1538 motion to suppress and a judge ordered all evidence be suppressed in the case forcing the case to be dismissed.

If you have been charged with a DUI, call today for a free consultation.