Recently partner Ryan Robertson won an important appeal victory in Pierce County Superior Court. The judge ruled that our client's DUI case should be dismissed because the officer did not have a lawful basis to stop our client's car.
A frequent issue in DUI cases is what type of driving behaviors can an officer observe to form the basis to make a traffic stop that leads to an arrest. The legal standard is whether the officer has a “reasonable suspicion” to believe the driver is violating the law. Often times, officers refer to a vehicle's “lane travel” as the basis for a stop.
Poor lane travel may be grounds to stop a car, but Washington law is clear that the officer must articulate how and why such driving was dangerous and posed a threat to other drivers. Appellate courts recognize that drivers are often momentarily distracted while driving and so long as crossing a lane line is brief and endangered no one it should not form the basis for a traffic stop. In our client's case, we were successful in having the case dismissed by proving that the officer failed to articulate any danger in our client's driving.
Our office is focused on intelligent and passionate representation for our clients. This focus helps us to achieve the victories like the one in this case. If you have been accused of a crime or have been convicted of a crime we would be happy to speak with you about the rights you have and how our office may be best suited to help you. Please feel free to call us anytime.
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