A man in Denton was recently arrested on drug charges after law enforcement pulled over a vehicle in which the man was a passenger because of outstanding warrants and an expired motor vehicle registration. A woman was also arrested on outstanding warrants due to failure to maintain financial responsibility and not having a driver’s license. The woman’s vehicle was eventually towed from the scene because she did not have insurance. Both the man and woman were taken to Denton City Jail where the man was charged with possession of a controlled substance as well as possession of a dangerous drug. These cases offer examples of how law enforcement officers in Denton conduct traffic stops.
The Requirement of Reasonable Suspicion
It is important to understand that law enforcement must have reasonable suspicion to perform a stop like these two cases mentioned above. Law enforcement is watchful for any type of behavior that can constitute a violation of the law. If the traffic stop then provides evidence that the law enforcement officer has probable cause to make an arrest, then law enforcement will likely conduct an arrest. There are many ways that law enforcement can justify reasonable suspicion including if the suspect disregards the instructions of law enforcement, drives above the posted speed limit, drives in an erratic manner, fails to remain in one lane of traffic, or runs a red light or stop sign. In the cases mentioned above, the reasonable suspicion that law enforcement had resulted from the drivers operating their motor vehicles in an erratic manner.
Cases in Which a Traffic Stop Might Not be Lawful
There are some cases in which it is not lawful for law enforcement to conduct a traffic stop. Some situations in which a traffic stop is not considered lawful by police officers include the following:
- While the law allows police officers to stop an individual for violating a traffic regulation, the driver must have actually broken the law. In some cases, law enforcement officers might attempt to create a reason for the stop after pulling over a driver based on suspicion and then discovering incriminating evidence.
- In some situations, a law enforcement officer will tail a driver for an extended distance until the driver performs some small infraction. In some situations, law enforcement officers have even been known to force a driver to perform a traffic infraction.
- Law enforcement officers are prohibited from performing traffic stops on the basis of age, race, sex, or any other type of discriminatory factor. This type of behavior has often been found by courts to constitute a Fourth Amendment violation.
The Assistance of a Seasoned Denton Criminal Defense Attorney
Being convicted of a criminal offense can result in various obstacles that can follow a person the rest of his or her life. For individuals facing these charges, it is a wise idea to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney like the legal counsel at Wheeler Law Office.
(image courtesy of Michelle Kim)