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  • D.U.S. Scenario

    Hypothetical situation:

    In Ohio.

    While on patrol at night you are following a vehicle. You randomly run the vehicle's registered plates and are advised that they return to a 20 year old female and that her operator license is under suspension. Due to being dark you are unable to identify any characteristics of the operator (gender, age, etc.) You observed no traffic/equipment violations to stop the vehicle but initiate a traffic stop solely on the basis that the owner is suspended.

    On approach you realize that the operator is a male. You explain to the operator the reason for the stop and he tells you that it is his girlfriends vehicle. You request the operators driver license and he states that he does not have it on him. You request his social security number and he provides it to you. Upon running the social through dispatch you are advised that he has a suspended operator license as well.

    What would you do?

  • #2
    Cite him for DUS and have a licensed driver come and pick him up.

    Comment


    • #3
      I disagree just joe ( sorry man )....If that subject gets an attorney you will lose the case....why? Let me first say in just joe defense, that 'logically' you would issue the citation, but 'legally' it's not possible and here is why.

      If you ONLY stop based on the LEADS information, then once you know that vehicle operator is not the owner that is under suspension, your traffic stop is over. The PC of your stop is shown to be invalid and you must end the stop on all conditions. You could get a consent search and end up with the 'mother load', but you will lose the case in a supression hearing. NOW, with that said, in those situations that you describe, if you stop for a traffic violation or equipment violation also then you still have the right to continue the stop to issue a citation/warning to the driver for that violation and investigate further.

      PM me if you have any further questions.

      Comment


      • #4
        I work in Ohio as well. Best case is to try and see if you can identify the driver first before making the stop. I have stopped people based off what Leads has said in the past without identifying the person as well. Although I won't make it a habit, I have done it. In Ohio there's not a law that says we can't ask for identification. No harm, no foul right? as long as he was willing to give you some sort of I.D. you have every right to cite him for DUS. If he says go to hell and doesn't want to give you any I.d. then leave it at that.

        I would have cited him in to court and took my chances with that. Atleast he was off the roads for now.

        Comment


        • #5
          ^^^I'm not going to walk up to the car, say , "sorry, wrong driver" and get back in my car and drive away. I'll take my chances in court. I'd rather get a ticket tossed than explain why I let a DUS driver go who could subsequently cause a crash and kill a family. Talk about a lawsuit. Also, read this:

          http://www.carolinajournal.com/exclu...e.html?id=4302

          Comment


          • #6
            I agree pxdenial....I have also made stops like that, and experience has taught me this, do yourself a favor and find another violation other than the LEADS information to avoid the situation. If you make this a practice then you will never find yourself in this type of situation. I have been forced to end a traffic stop before, because it was the wrong driver. I wouldn't go any further, such as request for ID because then you do open yourself up to liability and your in a tough position. If I never ID the person because it's the wrong person, then I wouldn't know they were under suspension in the first place. If I end the stop at this point then there is no liability because I did all that allows me under the law. Lawsuits can be filed, but the chances of someone winning a lawsuit like this is very small because you did everything your allowed under your scope of authority as a police officer. It's not like letting a intoxicated driver go, that would be liability. But in this case your suggesting the violation of a persons rights, because your afraid of liability and having to drive away. Be careful.Stay within the guideline that courts have established and there will be less liability.

            Every officer has a right to use their own discrection. Traffic laws are important to enforce, but not at such a high price tag as to go beyond what the court allows me to. Bottom line, find additional violation before you make the stop to avoid this from happening, or be prepared to end the stop if it's not the owner driving the vehicle. Don't even come close to violating a persons rights, or you will end up losing more than a little pride would cost you to drive away. I don't see how any officer could disagree with that. If you back yourself in the corner by mistake always have your supervisor and law director programmed in your cell phone. lol

            Be careful out there...

            Comment


            • #7
              I thought it was valid for a person to provide identifcation when stopped by the police. Would this be the case you would say would say would apply to the stop?

              State v. Venham (1994), 96 Ohio App. 3d 649, where initial detention of vehicle and occupants in search of a fugitive was legitimate, but continued detention and request to see license was not, after it had been ascertained fugitive was no longer in the vehicle.

              I also just found this:

              Rocky River v. Saleh (2000), 139 Ohio App. 3d 313, 327 -- A police officer does not have to possess specific facts warranting suspicion of criminal behavior to run a license plate check on a vehicle travelling the public roadway. It is reasonable to infer the registered owner is actually driving the vehicle at the time of the license plate check.

              Regardless of gender, isn't this enough PC to ask for the drivers license of ther person? At which time, you can note the DL number and name but allow the person to leave but continue to run their DL. You are not violating the rights of the individual since you are no longer detaining them? Then when it comes back, you then initate a stop based upon that information?
              Last edited by HopefulAcct; 12-29-2010, 07:55 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                I wouldn't have even stopped the vehicle to begin with. First of all you can't stop the vehicle based on your scenario. You must be able to articulate that the driver was a white or black female the fit your LEADS return of the registered owner. If you can first articulate that the driver fit the general description (ie female or male, white or black) you have a good stop. If you approach and its a male...The stop is over so you wouldn't even ask for ID to check his oln status. I work for the largest city in Franklin County and deal with DUS dailey. Your charge would be dismissed in Franklin County.
                Last edited by cmsd380; 12-29-2010, 09:33 PM. Reason: typo

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thank you for all of your replies and opinions.

                  I did cite him for d.u.s., impound the vehicle, and transport him home (about 0.5mi away).

                  The initial stop was valid because even though I could not articulate that the driver matched the description of the owner, I had no information leading me to believe otherwise.

                  As far as continuing the stop and identifying the driver, I can't find any Ohio case law that says I can or can't. I have found that other states have held that it is a "minimal intrusion" and a normal step within a traffic stop by a police officer. I guess I'll have to wait and see if he gets an attorney.

                  In the future I will definitely look for other PC as this experience has been a bit of a headache, lol.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    In California if you are stopped by the Police you will be giving up your drivers Lic# as a matter of fact all occupants of the vehicle are considered detained.
                    In your scenario your investigation can continue with the new driver! Oh, this is your girl friends car? Yes. Did she give you permission to take it? ummm yes. Your initial PC is ok and you can grow a nexuses from there.
                    Don't get hung up with Oh my PC is gone gotta stop. You could simply say well I your girl friends licenses is suspended so you are free to go sir. Do you mind if I ask you some questions? He will say sure Officer.
                    No court decent court will throw out a case an Officer is working in good faith. Well unless it's an LA court. LOL

                    Good Luck and be safe out there. My prayers go out to our brothers and sister in Clark County. We all feel your loss.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Oh!
                      P.S. I agree with usaf7348 just make sure you have some more PC. Get into that vehicle code or whatever it is called there. California VC is larger then Moby Dick and the Bible combined, if you follow a car long enough you will see another violation. Equipment or Moving.
                      Be safe!
                      Semper Fi

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by cmsd380 View Post
                        I wouldn't have even stopped the vehicle to begin with. First of all you can't stop the vehicle based on your scenario. You must be able to articulate that the driver was a white or black female the fit your LEADS return of the registered owner. If you can first articulate that the driver fit the general description (ie female or male, white or black) you have a good stop. If you approach and its a male...The stop is over so you wouldn't even ask for ID to check his oln status. I work for the largest city in Franklin County and deal with DUS dailey. Your charge would be dismissed in Franklin County.
                        really? why would you have to know race? leads does not tell you whether they are black or white! plus if you stopped it in good faith then it doesnt matter, u still have right to ask for id. plus in the end, even if it did get thrown out, which it wouldnt here, you could still save a life by getting off the road. i would cite and tow car, send him walking or finding a ride.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          In my state prior knowledge of the registered owner being suspended is reasonable suspicion to stop and detain. Once it is determined by visual observation the registered owner is not driving the initial reasonable suspicion ends. Now, here is where cops are born. Officer Friendly takes over. The driver is still I .D. 'd, registration, insurance. If you are driving a motor vehicle As buckeyeknight stated, ask questions to determine if the driver has permission to drive the car. You know the owners' name see if he does. Go from there. If the driver is suspended, hook him up. Act in good faith.

                          The "fruit of the poisonous tree" doctrine is an offspring of the Exclusionary Rule. The exclusionary rule mandates that evidence obtained from an illegal arrest, unreasonable search, or coercive interrogation must be excluded from trial. Under the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine, evidence is also excluded from trial if it was gained through evidence uncovered in an illegal arrest, unreasonable search, or coercive interrogation.

                          There is no illegal arrest because the detention was not a arrest. No unreasonable search took place because you have the duty to identify the driver and to see if they have a legal drivers license. No coercive interrogation took place because an interrogation happens after arrest and you did not coerce anyone.
                          Pete Malloy, "The only thing black and white about this job is the car."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MT Guy View Post
                            really? why would you have to know race? leads does not tell you whether they are black or white! plus if you stopped it in good faith then it doesnt matter, u still have right to ask for id. plus in the end, even if it did get thrown out, which it wouldnt here, you could still save a life by getting off the road. i would cite and tow car, send him walking or finding a ride.
                            I apologize for the misunderstanding. I was trying to say that the drivier must fit the general physical discription for PC to stop a car if a registered owner comes back suspended. You are right about LEADS not specifying race. The "Good Faith" stop is fine until you find out that you don't have the person you intended to stop. If it is not the person you originally thought it, the stop is over. As for the asking for ID, you can ask anyone for ID. Doesn't mean that they have to provide it, that called a concentual encounter.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by cmsd380 View Post
                              Doesn't mean that they have to provide it, that called a concentual encounter.
                              How can you call a traffic stop a concentual encouter? Unless you maybe use the verbage that "you are free to go but I have some other questions" then maybe but I would see this as a continuation of a traffic stop where you PC ran out.

                              Comment

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