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Do You Know Why I Pulled You Over?

Posted By Criminal Law Standard || 2-Sep-2010

    In many instances, when a police officer makes a traffic stop, the first question he asks the driver is whether he knows why the police officer pulled him over.  On its face, this may seem like an odd question since the police officer knows why he initiated the traffic stop.  The question (depending on the driver's response), however, can advance law enforcement objectives and make it easier to convict the driver if he is charged with a traffic violation or crime. 

    A prior inconsistent statement made by a witness at trial is admissible to impeach the witness's credibility.  If, for example, in response to the police officer's question, the driver replies, "You pulled me over because I did not stop after I ran into the blue pickup truck down the road." The driver's statement would be admissible evidence at trial if at trial the driver testifies that he did not run into any vehicle and has no idea why the police officer stopped him.  The reasoning is that the prior inconsistent statement makes the witness less credible.

    In addition, in certain instances, for example when a police officer stops a driver for speeding, the driver makes a statement that reveals the driver committed an separate traffic violation and/or crime about which the officer was not aware.  This makes the traffic stop more effective from a law enforcement perspective.   

    Dallas criminal attorney Tom D'Amore has more than 23 years experience practicing criminal law.  During that time period, Tom has tried more than 400 jury trials including trials that involved capital murder, drug distribution, armed robbery, theft, domestic violence, and driving while intoxicated

    If you have been charged with a crime and want to be represented by an attorney who has obtained outstanding results over an extended time period, contact the D'Amore Law Firm, to schedule a free case evaluation meeting with Tom D'Amore.

Categories: Evidence, Statements, Trial

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