As in the case of most other pretexts, there is variation in terms of whether or not tire squealing provides reasonable suspicion for a DUI stop. In a Florida case where the officer noticed tire squealing but no other unusual driving, a stop was found to be unjustified. However, a Texas court has found that a police officer had reasonable suspicion when he stopped a defendant because his tires had broken traction, causing screeching and spinning.
Car Equipment Violations
Equipment violations have been used to lawfully pull over some drivers. In Texas, a car’s lack of a license plate light or improper display of license plate could lead to a lawful detention. Other states, such as California, have also upheld equipment violations as a cause of reasonable suspicion.
Whether or not an officer’s misunderstanding of the law means a lack of reasonable suspicion depends on the case. In some cases, courts have found that an officer’s mistake in understanding the law, made in good faith, could render a stop unlawful. A Michigan officer who did not know the right number of license plates that the state issues its residents pulled a driver over due to that faulty knowledge, and the stop was found to be invalid.
In a California case, though, an officer’s good-faith mistake in understanding the law did not render a stop unjustified. The officer in question did not properly understand California’s laws about tinted windows and stopped a car based on this mistaken understanding. Because the windows did turn out to be illegally tinted, the police officer’s mistake in terms of knowing the extent of the law on window tinting was considered irrelevant and the stop valid.
Because there are so many traffic laws and so many reasons why a police officer might pull someone over, it is impossible to discuss every reason why a stop may or may not have been based on reasonable suspicion. That, along with all the variation in the application of the law, is why the help of an experienced Milwaukee DUI attorney is indispensable in fighting a DUI charge. For more information, contact Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C. by filling out the form on this page.