Monday, August 22, 2016

Reasons for stops | Douglas county criminal defense lawyer

As an Atlanta Criminal defense lawyer and DUI attorney, I often see stops that are called in on a Bolo from an anonymous caller. These stops are always problematic because nobody knows the true motives of that person who called the police or even if they are even telling the truth. A recent appellate decision has come down that states fairly clearly that those stops even though are anonymous can give the police officer articulable suspicion to stop the vehicle and investigate if the driver is in fact DUI.  In Blanks v. State, the Georgia Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s decision to deny blanks motion to suppress holding that an anonymous emergency 911 call was sufficiently reliable to be considered in determining whether an officer had reasonable article suspicion to conduct a traffic stop.  Relying upon the recent Navaratte United States Supreme Court decision, the court held that the fourth amendment to the United States Constitution permits a brief investigative stops when a law enforcement officer has a particularized and objective basis for suspecting the particular person stopped of criminal activity. The reasonable suspicion necessary to justify an investigatory stop is dependent upon the content of information possessed by police and its degree of reliability. The standard takes into account the totality of the circumstances. Although a mere hunch does not create reasonable suspicion, the level of suspicion the standard requires is considerably less than proof of wrongdoing by a preponderance of the evidence and less than is necessary for probable cause. In this case, the officer relied upon an emergency 911 call in which an anonymous caller provided information to the effect that the driver in front of him was driving erratically in speeding. Additionally, the caller was reporting information live on mostly keeping the vehicle and site. Furthermore, the caller provided live updates on the vehicle’s location as well as an additional detail when asked by the dispatcher about how the vehicle was being operated during the time the caller was on the telephone. Per the Court of Appeals, the police officer responded to the dispatcher’s report based on the anonymous emergency nine one two had sufficient descriptive information such as the make, model and color of vehicle to effectuate a stop even though the officer did not have the license tag number of the vehicle, a description of the vehicle, or any indication of wrongdoing other than speeding.
In Armentrout v. State 332 Ga. App. 370 2015, Armentrout was convicted following a stipulated bench trial of driving under the influence of alcohol less safe and per se.  On appeal, Armentrout contended that the trial court erred in denying her motions to suppress evidence recovered from the traffic stop and the results of the state administered chemical test arguing that the roadblock was unlawful. In this case, the police submitted a proposed roadblock to establish safety checkpoints to enhance safe travel and that the primary purpose of the roadblock was to conduct a check of driver’s licenses and to identify drivers who are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision holding that the State failed to prove that the Police Department’s overall checkpoint program had a legitimate primary purpose as required to demonstrate the lawfulness of Armentrout stop at the roadblock in that there was no written evidence or testimony to show the actual roadblock program had a purpose other than ordinary crime control. Contact a Douglas county criminal defense lawyer today for help with your case.

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