Criminal Defense in Orange County

Stopped for an Equipment Violation?

Many states' laws allow police officers to stop drivers due to car equipment violations such as broken lights or license plate placement. Police sometimes make mistakes about the types of equipment violations they can use to justify vehicle stops. Discuss your case with Attorney Barney Gibbs if you believe that you were improperly pulled over.

When police pull over cars for equipment violations permitted by law, the courts generally uphold those stops. For example, courts upheld the stop in a Texas case when the defendant's car lacked a license plate light and another Texas stop when the defendant kept his license plate on the rear dash balanced against a tissue box. In a California case, the court upheld a stop when a partially-obscured licensed plate violated the state's vehicle code. If you question whether police properly stopped your car based on a violation of DUI laws, you may wish to consult with our firm.

Courts sometimes uphold traffic stops even when an officer makes mistakes about the relevant laws, as long as the officer has an objective basis to believe that the driver has an equipment violation. In California, a police officer pulled over a car with tinted windows, believing that the windows violated state law---the officer had incorrectly interpreted the relevant state law. The court upheld the stop, however, because regardless of the officer's mistake, the tinted windows did violate California law.

Other courts will not uphold an improper stop even when the officer has made a good-faith mistake of law. In one Michigan case, the court refused to uphold a traffic stop made when the officer based on the stop on an incorrect belief regarding the number of license plates issued by the state. If you have been pulled over for a car equipment violation and have a pending case, find out from an Orange County criminal lawyer whether you can challenge the stop as unlawful. For a free initial consultation, contact The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs today by filling out a case evaluation form.