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Presumptive police stops- Fairfax criminal lawyer opposes a regression

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Presumptive police stops of cars- Image of police lights

Presumptive police stops must be barred and not re-permitted by legislation, says Fairfax criminal lawyer

Presumptive police stops (PPSs) involve stopping a person for a purported minor reason with the intention of looking for possible evidence of more serious law violations. PPSs include stops for excessive window tint, a dangling object from one’s window mirror, and not wearing a safety belt. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I oppose current efforts in Virginia’s legislature to rollback the great strides that were made two years ago in eliminating legal authorization for police stops for a wide universe of minor traffic violations. Allowing PPSs allows for more police racial and socioeconomic profiling and other abuse of police power.

Fairfax criminal lawyer on the status of proposed Virginia legislation to permit presumptive police stops

On January 19, 2023, the Virginia presumptive police stop legislation — Senate Bill 1010 — was referred from the Senate Transportation Committee to the Judiciary Committee.  Here is the current text of SB 1010. This PPS legislation’s chances of passing and being enacted into law is all the more a threat now that the triple-Democratic-controlled Virginia statewide government (governor, and both chambers of the state legislature) has changed to the Democrats now only controlling the state Senate.

What does the Virginia proposed PPS legislation say?

The harmful aspects of the proposed Virginia presumptive police stop legislation include allowing police stops for expired car registration, not having a current car inspection sticker, such equipment malfunctioning as a taillight not working, unbelted driver and front seat passenger, objects dangling from the rearview mirror,  excessive window tinting, smoking in a vehicle while a minor under 15 years old is present, and pedestrians being on the road other than to cross at a  crosswalk.

What can I do to put a stop to the Virginia proposed PPS legislation?

As a Fairfax criminal lawyer and spirited civil libertarian, I urge you by tomorrow (because the Virginia legislature can move quickly on legislation) to advocate to your state senator to oppose Virginia SB 1010, which expands police authorization to engage in pretextual police stops. You can find your Virginia legislators here. If your senator is a member of the Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee (the members are listed here), please contact that committee member right away to oppose Senate Bill 1010.

What should my Virginia criminal or DUI lawyer do if the police officer made an unlawfully presumptive stop of me while driving my vehicle?

Unfortunately, the federal Supreme Court generally allows presumptive police stops.  Whren v. U.S., 517 US 806 (1996). Consequently, any loosening of Virginia statutory PPS limits will translate into curtailed civil liberties and curtailed rights of the abused.

Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan Katz prepares your defense from all critical angles, including pursuing Fourth Amendment relief and other relief against Virginia DUI, felony and misdemeanor prosecutions. Call 703-383-1100 for your free in-person confidential initial consultation with Jon Katz about your court-pending case.