Is it Legal for the Police to Pull me Over Based on a Citizen Tip?
November 16, 2011

Very frequently in Orange County a DUI stop and subsequent DUI investigation will be prompted by a tip from another driver to police about an alleged “drunk driver” on the road. A DUI stop based on a “tipster” must be critically evaluated and scrutinized by your Orange County DUI defense attorney.

When evaluating the constitutionality of a detention based on a tip to the police, it is important to note the distinction between “anonymous tipsters” (persons who telephone the police about a crime, but do not identify themselves and are not known to the police), and “citizen informants” (chance witnesses or crime victims who expose their identity). With regard to “anonymous tipsters,” there is no presumption of reliability attached to their reports. With “citizen informants,” however, the law recognizes a presumption of reliability. Regardless, any tipster and informant must provide underlying facts sufficiently detailed to cause a reasonable person to believe that a crime had been committed” People v. Ramey (1976) 16 Cal3d. 269.

If the officer making an enforcement stop does not know whether the tipster exposed his identity, then the source of the information must be treated as an “anonymous tip.” This is because the constitutionality of the detention turns on what the officer knew prior to the enforcement stop. It is critical to understand that a police officer can legally stop a motorist only if the facts and circumstances known to the officer support at least a reasonable suspicion that the driver has violated the Vehicle Code or some other law. If not, the stop may be deemed unconstitutional and the DUI case against may be dismissed entirely.

If you or a loved one have been accused or charged with a DUI in Orange County, it is very important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately, like the attorneys at Wallin & Klarich. We have over 30 years of experienced handling this type of matters and can assist you in obtaining the best possible result. Call the law firm of Wallin & Klarich today at, (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 to speak to an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney about your case.

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