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Name: People v. Dean
Case #: A115164
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 12/03/2007
Subsequent History: 4/9/08 Rev. granted: S160418

A vehicle stop will withstand a Fourth Amendment attack if, under the circumstances of the detention, the officer had an articulable and reasonable suspicion that the vehicle was not properly registered. In this case, it was undisputed that the displayed registration tags were expired and that a valid temporary permit had been issued on the day of the stop and that the permit was found on the impounded vehicle three months later. The officer testified that he had a good view of the back of the car and could see inside it, that he would have seen a permit if it were there, and that he may have seen a permit, but regardless of whether he did or did not see one, he intended to stop the vehicle. The appellate court ruled that in view of the officer’s ambivalence about the permit, the prosecution failed to meet its burden of proving a reasonable suspicion existed for stopping the vehicle and reversed the judgment. The court was very emphatic in clarifying that its decision was case specific and did not stand for the proposition that when an officer sees expired registration tags, he has a duty to look for a temporary permit or that, as a matter of law, following a stop for expired registration, the officer must look for a temporary permit. [The court also noted that two cases discussing traffic stops of vehicles with a temporary registration are now pending before the California Supreme Court in In re Raymond C. (2006) 145 Cal.App.4th 1320 (S149728/G035822) & People v. Hernandez (2006) 146 Cal.App.4th 773 (S150038/C051224/C051602), rev. granted 3/21/07).]