By: Beltz Law Firm
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Lawyer In Addison, TX For Traffic Ticket
Traffic Ticket Defense In Addison, TX
Addison Traffic Ticket Lawyer
There are two basic legal standards a police officer can use to stop a person. Reasonable suspicion and probable cause are those two legal standards. This article will briefly describe reasonable suspicion in the context of a traffic stop and how it applies to traffic ticket defense in Addison, Texas. If you would like to discuss your case with an experienced attorney in Addison, Texas feel free to contact our office today.
Reasonable suspicion is the lowest standard applicable to a police stop and normally is not enough to provide the necessary proof for a traffic stop. Courts have provided some helpful rules for determining if a stop was lawful under the premise of reasonable suspicion. However, the basic idea is that the officer must believe that the person is involved in some type of criminal activity. Traffic stops can be categorized under the reasonable suspicion standard if they meet the required test. Reasonable suspicion has been stated as being “more than a hunch but less than proof of wrongdoing” in Wood v. State. Some of the elements a court will consider when contesting the reasonable suspicion for a stop are as follows:
- Some activity out of the ordinary is occurring or has occurred
- The suspect detained is connected with that activity; and
- the suspicious activity is related to the crime thought to have occurred
Some other key factors to consider are as follows:
- The suspects conduct does not have to be actually unlawful
- The officers suspicion must be based on facts they knew at the time of the stop and not on knowledge they acquire later
- The totality of all information can be considered in determining whether a particular officer’s actions were reasonable
- To make the investigatory stop an officer must have a reasonable suspicion, based on objective facts that the individual is involved in criminal activity.
As one can see, this would be hard to do based on a traffic stop. For example, no seat belt violations are commonly used to justify traffic stops. However, driving past a car and thinking “I wonder if that person is breaking the law” is not enough.
Breaking a traffic law in the view of an officer is always going to be considered sufficient probable cause to make a stop. In Texas, Chapter 543 of the Transportation Code allows an officer to arrest a driver who violates the “rules of the road.” There are statutory exceptions to this rule for speeding tickets that are signed by the defendant and open container cases. If an officer does arrest a person for a traffic violation, they must immediately bring that person before a magistrate for the court.
The authority for issuing traffic tickets comes from Transportation Code Section 543.003. Code of Criminal Procedure Article 14.06(b) also contains a general grant of power to issue citations in fine only situations like traffic tickets and other class “c” offenses. Tearing up a traffic ticket that contains the notice to appear does not justify a further detention or arrest of the driver. Adding protest words to a ticket does not have an effect on the driver’s obligation to appear in court either.
Once a stop is made, it has to be based on the reasonable suspicion that an offense occurred, not that a traffic offense actually did happen. The belief alone is enough. After the stop, an officer is allowed to do a driver’s license check of the driver whether or not an offense actually did occur so long as it can be done without unduly prolonging the motorist’s detention.
If you would like to discuss your traffic ticket stop in Addison or would like our legal team to evaluate your traffic ticket give us a call today.