SPECIAL REPORT: Mistakes the police make . . .
and how they can help you:
- Stopping a vehicle on the basis of an anonymous call. An officer can not
rely on a phone call to stop you, if he does not have a name and address for the caller.
There must be a reasonable suspicion before your liberty interest is
overcome. It is an illegal seizure.
- Following a driver into his residence without an invitation or without enough information to justify the entry.
Your home is protected under the fourth amendment. Absent your consent,
the Colorado police officer must have probable cause to believe you
committed a crime and exigent circumstances which prevent the obtaining of an
arrest warrant. Police are like vampires. They can't usually come in
unless you say so.
- Basing an arrest on the statements of the driver alone. The officer must have independent evidence to corroborate these statements.
This often arises when he has not seen you in physical control of your
- Detaining a driver longer than is reasonable to investigate. The constitution
does not allow officers to hold you without limit. It is an illegal
- Stopping a vehicle without an articulable reasonable suspicion. A
Colorado police officer can not stop you just because he thinks you are suspicious.
He must articulate specific facts that indicate you are driving under the
influence or violating some other law or ordinance.
- Stopping a vehicle because it stops in the middle of the street or it
is driving too slow. Unless there is a specific traffic ordinance you are violating,
such as impeding traffic, it is not lawful for an officer to stop you. It
is an illegal seizure.
- Weaving within a lane. The statute only requires you to drive as nearly as is practicable within a single lane. Some cases hold that one weave into the shoulder is not enough reason for a stop.
- Stopping a vehicle based on a misperceived violation of a law. The officer must be right about his interpretation of the law.
- Stopping a vehicle for an improper sign. Street signs and lane markings must comply with the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
- Failing to follow the rules of the Department of Health and Intoxilyzer operation manual. These failures may invalidate any alcohol testing.
- Stopping at an improper roadblock. There are guidelines that must be followed
to validate the stop. If not, it is an illegal seizure.
- Stopping a vehicle just to check the driver's license and registration.
There must be an actual traffic violation or an articulable reasonable suspicion of a crime. If not, it is an illegal seizure.
- Stopping a vehicle without being able to identify it as the one actually committing a traffic infraction. Officers must be able to convince the Court that they stopped the right car. If not, it is an illegal seizure.
- Stopping a vehicle for no reason at all. It's done. Officers usually do not show up in Court on these. If not, it is an illegal seizure.
- Blocking a vehicle's exit without justification. Officers may not restrict
a drivers liberty interest in the freedom to leave without a reasonable
suspicion. If not, it is an illegal seizure.
- DUI/DWAI probable cause: A
Colorado police officer must have a reasonable belief that your driving
has been impaired before he can request that you submit to an alcohol
- Failing to determine if you have prior convictions. Under the new felony law, the stakes are now much higher if you have three prior lifetime convictions any where in the US.
You have a right to remain silent. Exercise your rights!