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Name: People v. Raymond
Case #: G035822
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 12/20/2006
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 3/21/07: S149728

A police officer who has an articulable and reasonable suspicion that an automobile is not registered may detain the driver to check the vehicle registration. Vehicle Code section 5200, subdivision (a) requires that when the Department of Motor Vehicles issues two license plates, they must be affixed to the vehicle, one to the front and one to the rear. Pending receipt of the plates, the purchaser of a new vehicle is provided with a temporary tag which preferably is to be displayed in the lower rear window of the vehicle, although it can also be displayed in the lower right corner of the windshield or the lower right portion of a side window. Here, the officer testified that at 1:00 a.m., as he drove behind minor’s new vehicle, he noted that the car did not have a rear plate and was unable to see a tag, so stopped the car for a registration check. Although there was evidence produced at the suppression hearing that there was a temporary tag in the front window, the officer testified that he dis not see one and there is no requirement that an officer use the least intrusive means in executing a search or seizure [such as driving to the front of the vehicle to look for the temporary tag not visible from the rear], if his actions are otherwise reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.