I am addressing a limited question – legality of your traffic stop when you were arrested after a tinted windows DUI stop.
A cop pulls you over – approaches driver’s side – looks at you – smells alcohol. Next scene, you are in the back of the police car on your way to some sheriff’s station or local jail because that cop realized you were drinking. If your blood or breath test comes back above 0.08% of alcohol by weight in blood – your are facing DUI charges. You will be asking yourself a question: why were you pulled over?
Many cops believe that all tinting is illegal. That is simply not true. If you were pulled over for tinted window – you got to call our top DUI attorney in Los Angeles to fight your case.
The tinted windows DUI stop might be an illegal police stop.
Typically, police officers rely on California Vehicle Code section 26708(a) to justify pulling over a car for tinted window. When that happens and you are arrested for a DUI, However, that code section says nothing about tinting, instead is makes illegal anything that obstructs driver’s view. Thus, tinted windows DUI stop can not simply be justified using CVC 26708(a). California Vehicle Code section 26708.5 which prohibits application of “illegal tint”, which is further defined as tint in violation of “motor vehicle safety standards of the United States Department of Transportation”. Once against, tinted windows DUI stop can not be justified using CVC 26708.5
People v. Butler (1988) 202 Cal.App. 3d 602, is a case directly on point. The issue of an “illegal tint” was never addressed by the Supreme Court of California, so this 1988 decision from the court of appeal is the only valid precedent in California law. There Butler’s conviction for transportation of cocaine was reversed because the arresting officer pulled over a car (in which Butler was a passenger) for tinting, which that police officer believed to be illegal. However, the officer did not testify why the tint is illegal and simply believed all tint to be illegal. That, as evident from close reading of California Vehicle Code sections 26708 and 26708.5 is simply wrong. Tint that is compliant with Federal standard of US Department of Transportation is not illegal and stopping for it is a violation of your rights.
Off, course, even if your tint is not in compliance with the US Department of Transportation – it does not mean the stop is legal until the arresting officer testifies to that. The opinion of top DUI attorneys in Los Angeles is to fight all cases originating from a traffic tinted windows DUI stop. Both California and Federal law provides basis to challenge such a stop by a motion for an illegal search and seizure (typically through a Penal Code section 1538.5 in California), during which the prosecutor have to present evidence justifying legality of the stop. If the legality of the stop is not based on a violation of the law, the court must suppress the evidence obtained as a result of the stop – usually resulting in complete dismissal of the DUI charges. Such results can be achieved by our top drunk driving attorneys in Los Angeles.
Call us directly at (818) 921 7744 to talk to Los Angeles DUI attorney now.