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Name: People v. White
Case #: A096512
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 02/27/2003
Subsequent History: None

The court reversed convictions of two defendants due to the trial court’s erroneous denial of their motions under Penal Code section 1538.5. The car in which they were driving was stopped for having only one license plate — an Arizona plate — (Veh. Code, sec. 5200) and an object hanging from the rear-view mirror (Veh. Code, sec. 26708). In fact, both grounds for the stop were unjustified. As to the air freshener, the defense expert testified that this object blocked only one two-hundredth of the window. According to the expert, it did not significantly obscure the driver’s vision, which is the key element of a section 26708 violation. Moreover, the officer did not testify that he thought it did obscure the driver’s vision. As to the license plate violation, Arizona only requires one plate, and the law of the issuing state governs. The officer’s mistake of law did not justify the stop [distinguishing and disagreeing with People v. Glick (1988) 203 Cal.App.3d 796, 799].