Supreme Court Gives Police Greater Authority to Conduct Motor Vehicle Stops

Posted by Raymond Kimble | Apr 07, 2020 | 0 Comments

In many cases (or all involving a DUI charge), people are stopped, investigated and arrested after being stopped for a motor vehicle violation.  Once a driver is contacted, officers will be on the alert for signs of alcohol consumption or impairment or other indications that the driver may be involved in some criminal activity such as drug and marijuana possession, transportation or sales. Once an officer notices signs or alcohol or drug impairment or other indications or criminal activity, an investigation will ensue and an arrest and criminal charges will soon result. Common investigative techniques used by officers in investigations following a motor vehicle stop are roadside questioning of drivers and occupants, vehicle searches and administration of field sobriety tests.

Police Can Rely Solely On Information Concerning a Vehicle's Owner to Initiate a Stop 

Recently, the United States Supreme Court gave officers more power to initiate a motor vehicle stop even though they may not have observed  an actual violation or erratic driving behavior.  In Kansas vs Glover, a sheriffs deputy ran a license plate check and learned that the owner of the vehicle had a revoked license.  Without obtaining any further information, the deputy assumed the owner was driving, initiated a motor vehicle stop and arrested to driver for operating a vehicle while his license was revoked.  

The United States Supreme Court held that when an  officer lacks information negating an inference that the owner is driving the vehicle, an investigative traffic stop made after running a vehicle's license plate and learning that the registered owner's driver's license has been revoked is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. An officer may initiate a brief investigative traffic stop when he has “a particularized and objective basis” to suspect wrongdoing. The level of suspicion required is less than necessary for probable cause and depends on “the factual and practical considerations of everyday life.”

The deputy's common sense inference that the owner of a vehicle was likely its driver provided reasonable suspicion to initiate the stop. Empirical studies demonstrate that drivers with suspended or revoked licenses frequently continue to drive. Officers, like jurors, may rely on probabilities in the reasonable suspicion context. The presence of additional facts might dispel reasonable suspicion but this deputy possessed no information to rebut the reasonable inference that Glover was driving his own truck.  

Consequences of this Decision

In this age of evolving technology, most all police vehicles are equipped with computers and mobile data terminals which gives officers access to instant information about the owner of a vehicle, whether the owner's license is suspended, whether a vehicle is properly registered and whether the registration is suspended for failing to have proper insurance.  Now, and without any further information or observing an actual motor vehicle violation, police can initiate a motor vehicle stop based on information regarding the owners suspended driver's license.  Undoubtedly, this will lead to an increase in the number of people being contacted and investigated for crimes such as DUI, drug possession, drug sales, marijuana possession and marijuana sales.  

CALL (480) 833-8613 TO GET HELP NOW

If you, a family member or friend has been arrested for a DUI or any other drug, marijuana or criminal offense in Arizona, it is important that you immediately begin working with a qualified DUI and Criminal Defense attorney who can effectively represent you in the court of law and take necessary steps to protect your rights.  Attorney Raymond Kimble is a former police officer, DUI and felony prosecutor and has represented thousands of people charged with DUI, marijuana, drug and other felony offenses in Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Chandler, Phoenix and other cities throughout Maricopa and Pinal Counties over the last twenty years. Ray Kimble  will have a clear understanding of all the circumstances in your case, along with the knowledge, skill and experience to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for you.

About the Author

Raymond Kimble

About Raymond Kimble Attorney Raymond Kimble has built his law practice on the philosophy that each client deserves consistent individual attention. Ray realizes that being charged with a DUI or criminal offense is one of the most stressful events in a person's life. A DUI, felony or misdemeanor arrest can involve prison or jail time, probation, huge fines and a criminal record. Consequently, people who face DUI, felony or misdemeanor charges in Arizona are placed at risk of losing employment or being barred from future job opportunities. Ray works to lessen his client's anxiety by ensuring that they have direct access to him at all times and can reach him by e-mail, cell phone or text during normal business hours as well as nights or weekends if they have a pressing question or concern. Raymond Kimble is a dedicated DUI and criminal defense lawyer who has built a reputation of working tirelessly to protect his client's constitutional rights, their future and liberty. Ray strives to provide the strongest defense possible for each client despite the obstacles they may face. Put Experience to Work for You Raymond Kimble's twenty years of experience with respect to DUI, misdemeanor and felony criminal charges extends well beyond law school where he graduated within the top ten percent of his class. Ray was a police officer for ten years prior to becoming an attorney. As a police officer, Ray was trained in both DUI and criminal investigation and his personal involvement in criminal cases while a police officer certainly gives him a unique perspective when reviewing police reports, interviewing witnesses and challenging physical evidence. Ray often identifies legal issues or mistakes made by police during an investigation through his own personal experience as a patrol officer. In addition to his police experience, Raymond Kimble worked as a prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office where he was responsible for prosecuting DUI, felony and misdemeanor crimes. During his tenure as a prosecutor, Ray conducted a number of jury trials and hearings related to the admissibility of evidence. Through his involvement with these cases as a prosecutor, Ray learned how to properly evaluate the strength and weaknesses of a DUI, misdemeanor or felony charge and became skilled in jury selection, argument, and the direct and cross examination of both civilian witnesses, experts and police officers. Of course, Raymond Kimble's expertise extends beyond his experience as a police officer and prosecutor. Specifically, Ray has successfully represented thousands of people during the last fifteen years throughout Maricopa County, Arizona. To best serve his Clients, Raymond remains current on changes in the law as well as police tactics by regularly attending seminars focused on defending criminal charges and reading the latest articles and books related to DUI and criminal defense. Ray also regularly writes criminal defense blogs and posts so that people faced with a criminal charge are better informed about their rights.


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