Traffic stops form the basis of many contacts people will have with law
enforcement – from traffic citations and checkpoints to DUI investigations.
There are considerable legal guidelines that are required for law enforcement
to conduct a traffic stop. If those guidelines (your rights) are violated,
any evidence obtained to justify the arrest, may be suppressed in court
– which means inadmissible.
The Fourth Amendment requires law enforcement to have reasonable suspicion
before it conducts a traffic stop. Reasonable suspicion requires specific
facts that can be articulated by law enforcement to justify the stop.
In addition, these facts must be considered in light of the totality of
the circumstances. The stop cannot be based on a hunch that a violation
has occurred. When these circumstances are present, law enforcement may
conduct a traffic stop to ascertain whether not the driver has in fact
violated the law. This traffic stop allows law enforcement to briefly
detain the driver to conduct an investigation. This investigation should
last no longer than is reasonably necessary to determine if a violation
has occurred. An issue typically arises because a detention can become
prolonged and turn into an actual arrest. If this occurs, it may become
a violation of your rights.
If the detention does become an arrest, probable cause is required. Probable
cause requires a higher standard of proof, something more than reasonable
suspicion. If the arrest is not supported by probable cause, any evidence
obtained as a result of this illegality may be inadmissible in court.
This could lead to a dismissal of the charges.
Oftentimes, people do not know their rights and they assume, mistakenly,
that because they were stopped by law enforcement, it was legal. At Kern
Law, APC we have helped clients since 2004 protect their rights –
and fight the government in the process – when the arrest was the
result of a traffic stop. Criminal convictions have enormous ramifications
– from potential jail time, probation, loss of fourth amendment
rights, a criminal record, impact on employment, etc. It is critical that
your rights are protected. Do not take your rights for granted. Contact
Kern Law, APC today for a free consultation if you were arrested or cited
as a result of a traffic stop.