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Anonymous Tips for Impaired Drivers in LA

  • May 26, 2017

    Before an officer stops a vehicle for a person suspected of driving under the influence, the officer needs to have reasonable suspicion that the driver is doing something wrong. This suspicion is usually what the officer observes while the car is on the road, such as swerving or even an accident that takes place. The vehicle could exhibit changes in speeds, such as speeding up and slowing down. When the officer stops the vehicle, there will be a determination if the driver might be driving under the influence of alcohol or another substance. This is when the DUI investigation can begin.

    Officers can also rely on tips that are relayed through the use of cell phones and social media. If an officer receives a message about a driver who could be under the influence of a substance, then the officer can get the location of the driver to investigate. There are signs on the roads and highways that urge people to make reports of any suspicious drivers who might be driving under the influence. When someone makes a report about another driver, that person can remain anonymous. There is no need to give a name to the officer who takes the call.

    There have been court decisions that allow offices to rely on the reports that are anonymously made by other drivers in order to find those who could be driving under the influence. One case involved an officer pulling over a vehicle after getting a call about the driver swerving on the road. When the officer spotted the vehicle, the driver wasn’t swerving, but the vehicle was stopped anyway because of the previous report made. Once the officer spoke with the driver, it was determined that she was under the influence of drugs and was arrested. This arrest was valid according to the California Supreme Court based on the anonymous tip that the officer received.

    There is criteria that needs to be met before an officer can stop a vehicle after receiving a tip from another driver. The officer needs to be sure that the vehicle that is stopped is the same one in the report. The person who called and made the report must have seen first hand that the vehicle was violating the law. The caller must also describe a dangerous situation that is taking place on the roadway. Another aspect is that the driver must be one who is reliable.

    One issue was of a report given about a driver who almost forced another driver off the road. An officer followed the vehicle and stopped it after a few minutes. The officer noted that the driver wasn’t disobeying any laws, and the driver was found not to be impaired at the time. However, the officer did notice a large amount of marijuana in the car at the time of the stop. This stop was found to be valid based on the report of the tip that was called in to the officer.

    There are ways that the defendant can get a copy of the 911 call for the purpose of the court proceedings. It is possible for the officer to subpoena the phone number of the caller. Evidence can be challenged by the defendant, and if the stop is invalid, then the evidence is suppressed by the judge. A Los Angeles DUI attorney can offer assistance in securing evidence from the officer as it relates to the phone report made and for the charges that are filed.

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