Was My DUI Stop Legal?—Equipment Violations
One of the key questions in any Sacramento Area DUI case is whether or not the police officer pulled you over legally. A DUI from an illegal stop is invalid, regardless of whether or not you were intoxicated.
One legitimate reason an officer might pull you over is if he sees anything wrong with your vehicle. This is called an equipment violation, and can include problems with parts of your car (broken brake lights etc.) or with your license plate.
This comes with some restrictions though. First of all, the equipment violation actually has to exist—equipment violation stops based on mistaken observations are illegal. When the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard one Michigan case in which traffic stop an officer made out of the mistaken belief that the driver’s license plate was invalid, it ruled that the traffic stop was illegal because the license plate was indeed valid.
However, a traffic stop may still be legal even if the police officer made a mistake regarding the law. When Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard a California case in which the officer stopped a car with illegal window tinting, it found that the traffic stop was legal even though the officer didn’t understand the law making it illegal. The presence of an equipment violation, regardless of the officer’s understanding of the relevant laws, made the stop legal.
California DUI laws are filled with strange exceptions and inconsistencies and it can be a nightmare trying to navigate them without an experienced attorney. If you were arrested for DUI in the Sacramento area, call Param Pabla for an evaluation of your case.