Switch to ADA Accessible Website
Orlando Criminal Lawyer
call for a free
consultation

The U.S. Supreme Court Will Hear a Case That in Instrumental in Our Fourth Amendment Rights Staying Protected

shutterstock_376063027

The US Supreme Court will soon hear a case that could have drastic impacts on our Fourth Amendment rights when it comes to police being able to pull people over due to reasonable suspicion. Specifically, the Court will decide whether pulling someone over if a police officer runs a car’s plates and it shows that the owner of that car has a suspended or revoked driver’s license constitutes reasonable suspicion.

More than 11 million drivers have had a license suspended simply due to unpaid court debts. The state of Kansas’ argument that police officers should be allowed to pull people over if their car is registered to someone whose license has been suspended or revoked would therefore result in equating debt with crime, which is unconstitutional. In fact, in many states, a number of licenses have been suspended without having any connection to public safety whatsoever; for example, they are denied, suspended, or revoked simply due to not paying traffic tickets or defaulting on student loans. In fact, here in Florida, in some counties, tickets for minor pedestrian offenses- such as jaywalking – have resulted in thousands of people losing their driver’s licenses.

Assuming That The Driver Is The Owner Shifts Burden Of Proof

The case is especially problematic given that police officers would be pulling people over without knowing who is actually driving. As the Kansas Supreme Court noted in siding with the defendant, a number of families share the same car, therefore, police officers making assumptions about who is driving based on who is registered as owning the car would lead to innocent people being pulled over. When a police officer assumes that the driver is the owner, the state essentially no longer has to prove that the officer had “particular and individualized suspicion” that the owner was actually driving vehicle. This essentially relieves the state of its burden of proof, and shifts that burden to the driver.

Police Officers Would Be Pulling People Over Without Any Evidence Of A Crime

There is also another very important overarching issue here: An individual having a suspended license, while owning and registering a car, is not a crime. Neither is that vehicle being used, especially as if it is being driven by someone else.

Equating Owing the Government a Debt with Crime

Not to mention that license suspensions tend to more negatively affect poor communities and communities of color. As a result, if the Court takes the side of Kansas, thousands of people who pose no threat to public safety – whose only crime is owing the government money (or driving the car that belongs to someone who owes the government money), this is a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment, which ensures that Americans do not lose their right to privacy (and are subject to search and seizure) simply because they owe a debt (or are driving a car who belongs to someone who owes a debt).

The case will also look at the issue of automated license plate readers, which are becoming more and more popular, and which enable police officers to record the license plates of cars. Prevalent use of this technology, if condoned by the Court, would arguably open Pandora’s box of revenue-driven policing practices, such as only flagging and pulling people over because they owe money to the government.

Contact Our Orlando Criminal Defense & Civil Rights Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been subject to an illegal search and seizure, contact our experienced Orlando criminal attorneys at the Baez Law Firm to find out how we can help ensure that your rights are protected.

 

Resource:

forbes.com/sites/nicksibilla/2019/09/13/supreme-court-traffic-stop-case-could-drastically-limit-drivers-fourth-amendment-rights/#2c8fc4f17c17

https://www.baezlawfirm.com/when-criminal-cases-are-thrown-out-due-to-government-misconduct/

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
Miami

Miami Office

1200 Brickell Avenue #620
Miami, FL 33131
Office: 305-999-5100
Fax: 305-999-5111
Orlando

Orlando Office

23 South Osceola Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801
Office: 407-705-2626
Fax: 407-705-2625

Email Us

Fields Marked * Are required

Captcha Image

DISCLAIMER: Completing and submitting this form or otherwise merely contacting The Baez Law Firm or any individual at the firm will not establish an attorney/client relationship. Our firm cannot represent you until we determine that there would be no conflict of interest and that we are otherwise able to accept representation of your case. Please do not send any information or documents until a formal attorney/client relationship has been established through an interview with an attorney and you have been given authorization in the form of an engagement letter with The Baez Law Firm. Any information or documents sent via this form or otherwise prior to your receipt of an engagement letter will not be treated as confidences, secrets, or protected information of any nature. Submitting information regarding your potential case will not bar The Baez Law Firm from representing or continuing to represent a person or entity whose interest are adverse to your in condition with your case.

DISCLAIMER: This website contains information about The Baez Law Firm that includes testimonial statements from persons who are familiar with the firm's services. The testimonials shown are not necessarily representative of every person's experience with us. Testimonials from every client are not provided. As no two situations or persons are identical, the facts and circumstances of your situation may differ from those for which testimonials are shown. This website also includes information about some of the past results that we have obtained for our clients. Not all results are provided, and the results shown are not necessarily representative of all results obtained by us. No two situation are exactly alike; every person's situation is unique and the outcome for each person depends on the individual facts.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
MileMark Media - Practice Growth Solutions

© 2015 - 2019 Baez Law Firm. All rights reserved.
This law firm website is managed by MileMark Media.

Contact Form Tab Contact Form Tab