As a Washington, DC traffic violations defense lawyer, I am concerned to see whether there will be an increase in the number of people pulled over without probable cause to make a legal traffic stop. The DC police have probable cause to stop a car when they witness someone allegedly commit a moving violation such as speeding, reckless driving, tailgating, etc. However, if they run the plate and discover that the owner has a suspended license, it does not necessarily mean that the owner is driving the car. It is quite possible that a family member is driving the car while the owner’s license is suspended because of a DUI charge.
If the police pull over a car because the plate returns a hit that may be invalid, and then decide to search the car, this may amount to a violation of the driver’s Fourth Amendment rights to protection from unlawful search and seizure.