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Name: People v. Duncan
Case #: D050458
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/05/2008

Driving with an upside down license plate constitutes a violation of Vehicle Code section 5201. A police officer observed a vehicle driving toward him with a front license plate that was upside down. He stopped the vehicle and conducted a records check of Duncan, the driver. The check showed that Duncan’s license was suspended. The vehicle was impounded, and an inventory search revealed controlled substances and paraphernalia. Following the denial of his suppression motion, Duncan pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine. On appeal, he contended that the evidence was insufficient to support the stop. The appellate court rejected the argument and affirmed. It is a violation of Vehicle Code section 5201, which requires license plates to be fastened, visible, and maintained so as to be legible, to fasten a license plate upside down, which would make it more difficult to read. Since the officer had a lawful basis to stop Duncan, the trial court did not err in denying the motion to suppress.