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Supreme Court decision could impact drivers' rights

The Supreme Court of the United States is going to clarify a hugely important issue in many criminal cases in Colorado and all across the U.S. Is an anonymous tip reasonable cause to pull a person over for investigation? Clearly, this question is valuable in DWI cases but also to other types of cases as well.

In fact the case that has resulted in this matter going to the high court isn't a DUI case at all. Rather, it is a drug case. Defendants were pulled over by police who had gotten an anonymous tip about a vehicle being driving recklessly. An unsubstantiated report of reckless driving led to drug charges for the two men. Is there something wrong with this situation?

That's the question that the Supreme Court is charged with answering. The justices must determine whether it is necessary for law enforcement officials to have seen supposed traffic violations or other wrongdoing in order to make a valid traffic stop. They must determine whether a random witness' report is trustworthy enough to warrant the beginning of what could be a serious legal situation for a driver.

When someone is charged with DWI in Colorado, a criminal defense lawyer should evaluate the traffic stop and its cause. Did the officer have reasonable cause for a traffic stop the first place? The Supreme Court's ruling in the matter of tips to police will either add or take away from what authorities can claim as cause for a traffic stop.

We will post an update when there is a development in this criminal law matter. What do you think about the issue? Should tips be considered probable cause for authorities to take action and begin an investigation?

Source: The Associated Press, "Court: Is anonymous tip enough for traffic stop?" Mark Sherman, Oct. 10, 2013

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