Search and seizure, Traffic stop Motion to Suppress should have been granted

Apr 25, 2020

Search and seizure, Traffic stop, Search of vehicle subsequent to traffic stop during which officer detected the odor of marijuana. The trial court erred in denying defendant’s motion to suppress where traffic stop for a broken tail light was unlawful. Section of chapter 316 that enumerates the requirements for tail lights does not prohibit the operation of a vehicle with a non-functioning tail light where there are two other fully operational lights. The evidence indisputably established that defendant’s vehicle had two operational rear brake lights. For the stop to have been lawful the broken tail light must have posed a safety hazard, and state failed to present a particularized basis to suspect the vehicle was unsafe. It is not objectively reasonable to believe that a vehicle with a single broken tail light emitting some amount of white light would be unsafe where vehicle had two additional operating brake lights.

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