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I was pulled over by an officer for suspended vehical registration . Upon approaching my car the officer smelled alchol and

Milwaukee, WI |

gave me a field sobriety test. I failed and was arrested for dui.. I can prove that my vehical registration was and is valid so the officer had no reason to stop me. He never even issued me a citation for suspended registration. I cant afford a lawyer . I dont qualify for a P.D. Is there any case law that I should be aware of because I think my 4th amendment rights were violated?

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Attorney answers 5

Best Answer

You may qualify for a Dean Appointed Attorney...that being the circuit court can appoint you local counsel at a reduced rate. Consult you local clerk of court about this option.


There is a lot of law, both cases and statutes, that you would need to know to have a chance at pursuing a successful stop motion, and no one can give you the benefit of three years of law school, not to mention years of experience, in a web post. The real question you need to ask yourself is can you afford not to have a lawyer.

This answer is provided for general information only. No legal advice can be given without a consult as to the specifics of the case.

Nicholas C. Zales

Nicholas C. Zales


You cannot afford to not have a lawyer. If you can't afford one the office of the SPD can represent you. Otherwise, borrow money and get yourself an attorney you can afford. If you do not, the end costs could be devastating for years to come. Now is the time to bite the bullet and get yourself legal help.


A mistake of fact may be a constitutional basis for a stop. In other words, it is againt the law to have a suspended registration. Because having a suspended registration is against the law, the officer may pull you over if he mistakenly (and reasonably) believes your registration was suspended. If the officer had made a mistake of law (i.e., if having a suspended registration was not against the law), then the stop would not be constitutional.

Whether the officer had enough information to get all the way from stopping you to arresting you is too complex of a question to answer on Avvo. Further, to answer the question, an attorney would need much more information than you can/should post online. Anything posted online may be used against you in court.

Frankly, this is the type of information for which attorneys are paid. You may want to consider purchasing a few hours of an attorney's time to review the case and see if there is a viable stop motion or other motion to suppress. Then, you could decide whether to hire the attorney to represent you in court.

Good luck, and Happy Holidays!


A public defender is an attorney and she will be familiar with the relevant law. If you are not comfortable with her representation, you'll just have to make your criminal record a financial priorirty and find a way to retain private counsel.

The short answers are 1) it would be unusual for the officer to issue a citation for the underlying traffic violation and 2) if the officer reasonably believed the stop was valid, the stop was valid even if he was mistaken.

Macy Jaggers's answer to a legal question on Avvo does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Jaggers offers everyone a free consultation to discuss their case. Feel free to call her office at 214-365-9800 to make an appointment (phones are answered 24 hours) or visit her website at for more information about her services and recent victories.


I believe that your 4th amendment rights would have been violated if an officer falsely believed that your suspension was registered (assuming that this was the sole reason for pulling you over), provided that the police department as a whole already knew the correct information, i.e., that it was actually reinstated. But in a scenario where you had just reinstated it and that fact was simply not yet reflected in their computer system, the officer’s mistake might be reasonable, and a judge might disagree with me. The concept of the “total knowledge of the police department” is frequently used for the benefit of the police when, for example, one officer, who has probable cause, radios another officer (who does not have probable cause), to pull you over. That would routinely be considered a good arrest. In the reverse situation, however, there is no good policy argument that same concept of “total knowledge” should not to be used against the police when they make an unreasonable mistake. That would be when they were in possession of the information that you were reinstated, yet acted upon stale, erroneous information that you were not, when they pulled you over, assuming that a reasonable time had passed since reinstatement (i.e., it available to their computer system). It is therefore probably worth your while to retain an experienced criminal lawyer in this scenario. My answer does not automatically make me your attorney, so you need to consult with your own attorney before acting upon any of my comments and may contact my office at 333 Main St, Racine, WI 53403, 262-633-3090, during business hours, or see me on the web at Also see 25 years of my answers to consumer questions at Attorney answers may contain advertising materials.

Attorney answers on this pubic web forum are offered for public educational purposes only and do not make me your lawyer--you therefore still need to consult with your own lawyer and obtain his or her opinion on your specific facts before making any important decisions. Answers do not apply specifically to your fact situation but rather to common situations faced by many is a similar situation. Please remember that I am not yet your attorney and will not be taking any action on your case, but you are still welcome to contact me during business hours at my in Racine if you still have more questions. Also, please see me on the web at, or, to read 15 years of my prior answers to consumer legal questions arranged by topic, please go to Answers may contain attorney advertising materials.

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