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A Traffic Stop Based on an Anonymous Informant’s Tip Must Be Reliable to be a Legal Stop

Why You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney Who Knows Search and Seizure Laws

In order to conduct a legal traffic stop, an officer must have what is called “reasonable suspicion” to stop the car. Often, officers will rely on a tip they received from someone who may know the suspect, one who may have seen the suspect engage in an illegal activity, or a person with a hunch to create the requisite reasonable suspicion. A person who tips officers to suspected criminal conduct is called an “informant.”

In order to use an informant to build reasonable suspicion, the officer must consider the reliability of the information. In United States v. Leos-Quijada, 107 F.3d 786 (10th Cir. 1997), the court stated that when information comes from an informant, reliability may be assessed by viewing the credibility of the informant, the basis of the informant’s knowledge, and the extent to which the police are able to independently verify the tip.

The lower the reliability, credibility, or veracity of the informant, the more information that is required to create reasonable suspicion. Often times, in a California DUI case, the arresting officer is unable to sufficiently verify the basis for the information, or the reliability of the informant.

A knowledgeable and experienced Wallin & Klarich DUI attorney will be able to expose this deficiency and use it to your advantage in criminal court and at your DMV Hearing. Call 1-888-280-6839, or visit our website, www.wklaw.com for more information.

This is the first blog in a four part series on the nuances of search and seizure law. Check back tomorrow for part two.

About Wallin & Klarich


Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.