Police found three tons of marijuana in a rented moving truck, after pulling
the driver over for running a red light.
Bakersfield Police Department officers noticed a
strange odor coming from the back of the truck, as they approached the driver to write
the ticket. The 6,732 pounds of pot had an estimated street value in excess
of $75 million, according to authorities.
In order to pull you over, an officer must have
reasonable suspicion that you may be involved in criminal activity. Most of the time, reasonable
suspicion is not an issue in Bakersfield traffic court, because the officer
saw you run the red light or make an illegal turn. But what if one officer
saw you speeding, and then radioed ahead to another officer to pull you
over? Such is often the case on Interstate 5 and other California freeways.
Officer Two didn't actually see you do anything wrong, so what basis
does he or she have to stop you?
Generally, the more complete the information, the more likely the judge
will declare the stop to be legal. If Officer One gives a good description
of your vehicle - white Ford Bronco, California license plates, occupied
by a driver and passenger - that's probably enough information to
meet the Supreme Court's "specific articulable facts" standard.
But, if the description is incorrect or sketchy, Officer Two may not have
reasonable suspicion based on specific facts.
An attorney practicing in Kern County can use a circumstance like an invalid
stop to either get the ticket thrown out, or at least get the penalty reduced.