Court Rulings on Traffic Stops Tied to Vehicle Equipment - Liberty Law

An experienced Salt Lake City DUI defense attorney knows that courts often rule in favor of law enforcement officials who pull vehicles over for faulty equipment concerns.

Case law addressing equipment stops varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Texas courts have supported detaining drivers who either didn’t have a license plate light or who thought it was acceptable to mount a license plate in the rear window of a vehicle, propped up only by a box of tissues.

Cops may pull you over for faulty equipment reasons when they actually suspect you’ve been drinking. For example, in California, courts have upheld stops tied to window tinting regulations. In one case, the court upheld the legality of the stop even though the cop’s knowledge of the pertinent laws was flawed.

Some Courts Will Acknowledge Wrongful Stops

In Michigan, a court refused to support a traffic stop that was based on a mistake of law. In that case, a police officer was misinformed about how many license plates were issued by the state to vehicle owners. Even though it was a good faith mistake about the law, the court ruled that it could not support a wrongful stop.

The court distinguished its ruling from that in the window tinting case noted above because in that case, the windows were actually tinted illegally. In contrast, the law enforcement official in this case was fully mistaken about the number of license plates issued to drivers.

If you decide you need a Salt Lake City DUI defense attorney, call James Lee for a free evaluation of your case.