Any rights in our car? US Supreme Court Says No!

A recent case by the US Supreme Court has again reduced the amount of law the police officers are required to actually know in order to pull a vehicle over for a traffic violation. In December of 2014, the Supreme Court decided Heien v. North Carolina, where they took it on themselves to change the way we view the 4th Amendment, the police, and our believe that officers must educate themselves when enforcing the law.

The Court found that if an officer makes a mistake in the law, then the officer can conduct a search under the Fourth Amendment.  The Court stated that “the Fourth Amendment allows for some mistakes on the part of government officials, giving them “fair leeway for enforcing the law in the community’s protection.”

In Heien, a police officer stopped a vehicle because one of its two brake lights was out, but a single working brake light is all the law required under North Carolina law. The Supreme Court held that a mistake of law was reasonable, thereby giving the officer reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle.

It was decided long ago that police may make mistakes of fact, as long as it is reasonable.  For example, if an officer mistakenly believes someone gave consent to search a vehicle, but that person did not have authority to consent, then the evidence obtained from the search can be used against the defendant. Another example would include a situation where an officer made a mistake and arrested the wrong person. The arrest would be reasonable, although it is a seizure under the Fourth Amendment.

However, the new decision has broadened the scope of the police officer’s reach when it comes to officer mistakes.  Under the new ruling, the Supreme Court has taken more of our rights away under the Fourth Amendment. Now, incompetent officers may conduct “lawful” searches and seizures even when officers should be held to a standard higher than the average person when it comes to knowing the law.  If police officers do not know the law, then how are they allowed to enforce it?

Clearly, this new case has again weakened the Fourth Amendment by allowing officers to disregard learning the law in exchange for citizens to be subject to unreasonable searches and seizures. Seeing that there are approximately one hundred million traffic stops each year, we are all subjected to the new standard of police making not only mistakes of fact, but making mistakes in law where we believe officers will only pull us over when we committed a crime, not laws that are capricious and arbitrary.

And remember, once the police have initiated a traffic stop, it is easy for them to broaden their investigation, including a warrantless search of our vehicles. Therefore, if you are pulled over, don't talk and don't consent to a search of your vehicle.

If you have been wrongly accused of committing a traffic offense, contact an attorney to determine if you actually broke any laws.  Obviously, just because the officer said you did does not make it the case any longer. See our traffic section for more information on how to fight your traffic ticket.

Posted on
April 20, 2015
in
Fresno Traffic Law Posts
category
4th Amendment and traffic tickets, car stops, did I break the law, Fresno traffic stops, police don't know the law, traffic stops in Fresno, unreasonable stops by police

Can I Pay My Fine in Pennies? Legally Weird

Don't pay your ticket without talking to a traffic ticket lawyer. A speeding traffic ticket can be won with the right attorney.
Traffic
Tina Barberi, DUI and criminal lawyer in Fresno will fight to win your criminal and DUI case.
Tina M. Barberi
August 18, 2015
Have you really had it with the police and courts and want to play a prank by paying with pennies? If so, think again. Learn why it is not a good idea and the real tips on how to stick it to the police officer and the courts.

SR-22 Auto Insurance after Fresno DUI

A criminal lawyer can determine if you need a SR-22 insurance for your car after a DUI arrest and DMV hearing in Fresno.
Traffic
Tina Barberi, DUI and criminal lawyer in Fresno will fight to win your criminal and DUI case.
Tina M. Barberi
March 16, 2015
What is an SR-22 and do you need it? If your license is suspended because of a DUI, you will be required to have an SR-22 before a license is issued. But you may avoid the SR-22 requirement by reading this post first.

What You Need to Avoid When You Get a Traffic Ticket

Fresno police officers will cite you for a suspended license and tow your car, costing you thousands. Save money, call a traffic lawyer now.
Traffic
Tina Barberi, DUI and criminal lawyer in Fresno will fight to win your criminal and DUI case.
Tina M. Barberi
July 7, 2015
Suspended licenses are very serious in Fresno and it is important to avoid them at all costs. Learn how to keep your license before it gets suspended and find out how we can help you get it back when it is already suspended.

Caution: Don't Even Think About Driving with Alcohol!

Fresno defense attorneys that fight DUI cases understand the laws for DUI probation cases, including alcohol levels.
Traffic
Tina Barberi, DUI and criminal lawyer in Fresno will fight to win your criminal and DUI case.
Tina M. Barberi
May 18, 2015
If you have received a conviction for a DUI, it is important to not take it lightly. See tips and tricks for being on DUI probation in order to stay out of court and jail. You may be surprised how easy it is to violate probation.

Who Let the Dogs Out? National Dog Day!

Dogs are the best, especially on National Dog Day, even when I am reading the law books at Tina Barberi's law firm
Our Firm
If you are arrested for DUI, get the best legal defense with help from Jeanne Slaven.
Jeanne Slaven
August 26, 2015
Hooray, today is National Dog Day! We love our four-legged friends and want to show our special thanks for the love they always give us. Meet our best friends and then tell your special pooch how much they mean to you as well.

Celebrate Your Boss on National Boss Day!

Traffic lawyer in Fresno is the best Boss and attorney. Tina Barberi will make sure you get great service for your DUI case.
Our Firm
If you are arrested for DUI, get the best legal defense with help from Jeanne Slaven.
Jeanne Slaven
October 16, 2015
National Boss Day is a special day to tell your boss how much they mean to you. For Tina, we decided to surprise her with a blog because she has been working so hard on her website and we hope she will enjoy it.

Visit the Law Offices of Tina M. Barberi, PC

Fresno criminal, DUI, and traffic attorney, Tina M. Barberi, is dedicated to your case. Call today to find out how we can help you.
Our Firm
If you are arrested for DUI, get the best legal defense with help from Jeanne Slaven.
Jeanne Slaven
April 8, 2015
We are committed to helping persons that are accused of criminal or DUI charges in Fresno County. If you need help on a criminal case, stop by and discuss your case for free. We are here to help and will work hard for you.

Happy Halloween! The Scary Truth of Halloween DUIs

Do not drink and drive on Halloween. If you are arrested and face DUI or criminal charges, get a DUI attorney in Fresno.
Our Firm
DUI defense lawyer enlists Gonzalo Quezada for clients accused of DUI, criminal or traffic charges.
Gonzalo Quezada
October 30, 2015
The scariest trick you can receive is winding up in jail on Halloween. If you are preparing to drink on our scariest day of the year, take these tips to heart before getting in your car. We can show you how to avoid a DUI arrest.

Memorial Day Weekend - DUI Arrests and DUI Checkpoints

If you have a DUI case because you were charged with a DUI on Memorial Day, call an experienced criminal and DUI lawyer as soon as possible.
DUI
Tina Barberi, DUI and criminal lawyer in Fresno will fight to win your criminal and DUI case.
Tina M. Barberi
May 22, 2015
Memorial Day may be a great day to remember those that serve, but make sure not to serve yourself too many drinks. Fresno police officers are cracking down on drunk drivers so follow these tips to avoid being arrested.

Why Should I Bail Out of Jail in Fresno?

If you are thinking of bailing out of custody, retain an attorney first to save on the bail costs.
Criminal
Tina Barberi, DUI and criminal lawyer in Fresno will fight to win your criminal and DUI case.
Tina M. Barberi
March 4, 2015
No one wants to go to jail, but do you know what your rights are to bail? Find out if you are entitled to bail before you contact a bail bonds company in Fresno. In some cases, you may not even need to post bail -see why in this post.

I did not go to jail, does that mean I am not facing a DUI?

Driving under the influence charges in Fresno do not always result in you being booked in Fresno County Jail - see a lawyer immediately.
DUI
Tina Barberi, DUI and criminal lawyer in Fresno will fight to win your criminal and DUI case.
Tina M. Barberi
March 17, 2015
Were you recently cited for DUI, but the Fresno police failed to arrest you? If so, you are not alone. Many people arrested for suspicion of drunk driving are not taken to the jail for many reasons. Find out if this is legal.

Hiring the Right Drunk Driving Lawyer in Fresno

Deciding on the right DUI lawyer is difficult after a DUI arrest. You need an experienced lawyer to fight your case and protect your rights.
DUI
Tina Barberi, DUI and criminal lawyer in Fresno will fight to win your criminal and DUI case.
Tina M. Barberi
March 25, 2015
When you are charged with a crime, you do not know where to turn or who you can trust. Finding the attorney that is a perfect match for you is where you need to start. See these helpful tips to locate the best attorney for you.

You Might Also Like