A traffic stop in another state has worked its way up to the Supreme Court of the United States. This case involved two men who were arrested during a traffic stop. Another driver on the road called 911 to report that the two were in a truck that was reportedly driving erratically. Police pulled the men over without ever seeing the erratic driving that was described to 911 operators, and the men were arrested on drug charges after officers claimed they smelled marijuana.
Even though the police never witnessed the driving the 911 caller described, because the person gave a fairly exact description of the vehicle and a license plate, the police pulled the men over anyway. Although the Supreme Court has previously ruled that police cannot pull a person over based solely on a 911 call by an anonymous source, they will hear the case in January and attempt to answer whether police may pull people over if drunk driving is suspected.
The government may hope to prove that drunk driving is different. However, police being able to pull anyone over without witnessing any erratic driving could result in many innocent people being stopped and questioned.
Although the men pleaded guilty, they hope that their convictions will be overturned because the police should not have been able to pull the men over in the first place. Speaking with an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney might be a wise decision if a person is accused of a serious crime following an alleged traffic violation. They can help the person understand and defend their rights.
Source: Associated Press, “Court: Is anonymous tip enough for traffic stop?” Mark Sherman, Oct. 1, 2013