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Is this reasonable suspicion for a Terry stop?

Tulare, CA |

Officers testified that they saw me at an abandoned house along with 4 others and that after making eye contact with them I went inside the house. A few minutes later I left the house on foot and the same cops pulled me over. After running my name they discovered I had a traffic warrant, so they took me to the station and booked me. Did the cops have a reasonable suspicion to pull me over.

Attorney Answers 2


If cops get information about an individual, learn that the individual has a warrant for traffic violations and personally sees that individual driving, then in most cases there is a lawful reason to stop that individual. On the other hand, if the cops did not know who the individual was driving the car and just stopped it based on the registration or assumption on who was driving the car, there may be issues relating to a Fourth Amendment violation. Do not post additional facts here since it is a public forum, especially if the incident is in Tulare. Consult an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area or if you cannot afford one, ask for a public defender.

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Think about this. Stops are usually challenged to suppress the contraband. You were in an abandoned house (its owned by someone) and were presumptively trespassing, or at the least in a suspicious place.

If you had no warrant, you would have went on your way. You had a warrant so you went to jail.

If the stop was unwarranted, do you think that they will let you go and then re-catch you again?

Do you expect the judge to say "free to go" and then try to evade re-arrest before leaving the court house?

A warrant will likely never be "fruit of the poisonous tree".

Facts seem to indicate suspicion + consensual stop + identification + warrant discovery.

But, even if the stop was unreasonable, what remedy do you expect? Release and re-catch just doesn't make sense.

Curt Harrington
Certified Tax Specialist -- State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization (J.D.; LL.M.-Tax)
Electrical(M.S.E.E.)-Chemical(M.S.Ch.E)(B.S. Chemistry)-Mechanical Patent (Intellectual Property) Attorney & MBA (562) 594-9784 ---

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Serving time for the warrant is the least of my problems. The house was bank owned, but I shouldn't have said abandoned because there were people staying there who claimed they had renters rights, cars were in the driveway, working electricity, nothing that would lead to a reasonable inference that we were trespassing in an abandoned house. I'm not worried about serving time for my warrant after I was booked officers went back to the same house and did a warantless search they found the vehicles were stolen so they returned to sub station and added a new charge of receiving stolen property. This is the reason I want the officer to justify the stop because he did not learn of my warrant or the stolen vehicles until after they stopped me. And since there was nothing indicating that the house was abandoned they couldn't have stopped me for trespassing, when they stopped me I was 2 blocks away from house.

Curtis Lamar Harrington Jr

Curtis Lamar Harrington Jr


"stopped me I was 2 blocks away from house." could have been a tactical decision to make a quieter consensual stop. Stolen property beef sounds bogun unless the house were being watched and classified as a criminal enterprise. This is a DA function, and the question still arises that if the stop were totally random, would you still be charged for receiving. LE saw you at the house and that is the connection, rather than the stop. The stop allowed them to know who you were, you were already spotted at the house. A defense is basically your story of why you were there. If you only arrived in town that day and were visiting your sister, the DA receiving charge won't wash. However, if you were around for a long time, there is an inference that you were a participant in the activity at the house. Get an attorney as soon as possible and get to the reasons why you were at the house. You wrote "not learn of my warrant or the stolen vehicles until after they stopped me" and you said you were on foot. 1. Once you gave your name, they found the warrant. You have not intimated that the stop was not consensual. 2. I don't see that stolen vehicles at the location (unless you were driving them) had anything to do with a consensual stop when you were on foot. Did the officers see you driving earlier? Who's car? Don't answer; just hire an attorney to represent you on the receiving stolen property charge....

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