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Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

What started as a rather low-intensity stop for a mechanical violation turned into something much bigger (no pun intended).

CHP officers initially pulled over a vehicle in Salinas pursuant to VC 24400: a broken headlight. During the course of the stop, officers suspected that the driver, who used the name Agustin Alejo, was also under the influence of drugs. When “Mr. Alejo” was booked and fingerprinted, officials discovered that his real name was Byron Contreras, and he was wanted for the 1989 gang-related murder of a Los Angeles man. Mr. Contreras was 16 at the time of the shooting; his four accomplices were all caught and prosecuted, but he successfully evaded capture for 25 years using a string of false names and false identification documents. There is a good chance that he may have lived in a small town to avoid detection, like Delano or Ridgecrest.

When officers pulled over Mr. Contreras that night in Salinas, he was one of Los Angeles’ most wanted fugitives.

Hazards of Law Enforcement

This topic has been heatedly discussed in the last several months, in the wake of several high-profile incidents. Critics of police behavior liked to point out that police work is 15th on the list of deadliest jobs, trailing occupations like garbage collecting and groundskeeping. But this statistic considers all law enforcement officers, including those who work behind desks. If only patrol officers are considered, the ranking is much higher.

Police officers are also criticized on websites like this one, for enforcing ticky-tack laws like the aforementioned VC 42200 in a never-ending quest for revenue. But these officers are often just following instructions from higher up.

It is indisputable that officers never know who is behind the wheel. It could be someone like your grandmother, a dangerous fugitive like Mr. Contreras, or someone in between. The best rule is always to comply with minimal requests like “license and insurance please,” say as little as possible, and let a lawyer handle the ticket in court.

Getting Legal Help

The aggressive lawyers at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-859-1177 or email attorney@markbigger.com to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-376-0214.