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Tag Archives: traffic stop

Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Seatbelt Violation – Further Detention – Drug Dog (access required)

State v. Fisher Defendant’s seatbelt violation justified a traffic stop. A further 20- to 25-minute detention – awaiting a canine unit -- was justified by defendant’s nervousness, inconsistency with regard to his travel plans, driving a car not registered to him, and the strong smell of air freshener, in addition to otherwise “innocent” behavior such as defendant’s driving in the flow of traffic, a hand print on the otherwise dirty trunk, and a fast food bag (indicating defendant did not want to leave the car unattended). The arresting officer was further justified in continuing the detention when he learned that defendant had pending drug charges in another county.

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Criminal Practice – DWI – Traffic Stop – Reasonable Suspicion – Weaving Within Lane – Other Drivers’ Evasive Maneuvers (access required)

State v. Fields The trial court found not only that defendant was weaving in his lane, but also that defendant’s driving was “like a ball bouncing in a small room,” and that the driving was so erratic that the deputy following defendant observed other drivers – in heavy traffic – taking evasive maneuvers to avoid defendant’s car. The trial court’s findings support its conclusion that the deputy had a reasonable, articulable suspicion to conduct an investigative stop of defendant’s vehicle.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Vehicle Search — Consent (access required)

U.S. v. Ortiz The 4th Circuit offers a refresher course in assessing “probable cause” and reverses a district court order suppressing drugs found in a secret compartment of defendant’s car because the district court applied the wrong standards for determining whether police had defendant’s consent to search the vehicle and whether there was probable cause to search it.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Reasonable Suspicion – 30-Day Tag – Low Number (access required)

State v. Burke Where our Court of Appeals held, An officer believed that the number on defendant’s 30-day tag was lower than those being issued at that time; the officer’s belief did not rise to the level of reasonable suspicion needed to make a traffic stop, we affirm the Court of Appeals’ reversal of the trial court’s denial of defendant’s motion to suppress.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Tinted Windows – Reasonable Suspicion (access required)

State v. Davis Even though there was conflicting evidence as to whether defendant’s car windows were tinted legally, and even though the state voluntarily dismissed the citation for illegally tinted windows, the darkness of the window tint gave the arresting office a reasonable, articulable suspicion of criminal activity.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Armed Robbery – DWI (access required)

State v. Brown Where the arresting officer did not have any information regarding in what direction armed robbery suspects fled the scene of the robbery, and where the officer had no description of a getaway vehicle, the officer did not have a reasonable suspicion that justified pulling over defendant’s car near the scene of the crime four hours after the robbery.

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Before Warrant Execution (access required)

U.S. v. Montieth A police affidavit detailing police discovery of marijuana packaging and residue in a trash pull outside defendant’s residence supported issuance of a search warrant for defendant’s home, and the police effort to safeguard defendant’s wife and young children during execution of the search warrant, by first detaining defendant in a traffic stop and searching the home after defendant’s wife and young children left, did not violate the Fourth Amendment; the 4th Circuit upholds defendant’s conviction on a drug and firearm charge under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1).

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Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Passenger Pat-Down – Reasonable Suspicion (access required)

U.S. v. Powell Although a radio call alerted an officer to a passenger’s “priors” for armed robbery, that “caution” and the passenger’s misrepresentation about his driver’s license did not provide a reasonable suspicion the passenger was armed and dangerous and allow a pat down, a 4th Circuit panel majority holds; saying it has made the same point in three recent cases, the appellate court vacates defendant’s crack cocaine conviction.

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Constitutional – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Administrative – Immigration – Green-Card Check (access required)

U.S. v. Guijon-Ortiz A police officer who questioned a pickup passenger’s alien legal residence card during a routine traffic stop did not violate the passenger’s Fourth Amendment rights when he extended the stop to call the local customs office to check the validity of the passenger’s identification, and the 4th Circuit affirms defendant passenger’s conviction for illegal reentry after deportation in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1326.

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