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Name: People v. White
Case #: E029989
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 11/15/2001
Subsequent History: None

A sheriff’s deputy stopped appellant, who was driving a pickup truck with a trailer hitch which partially obscured the deputy’s view of the middle numeral of his license plate. The officer believed appellant was in violation of Vehicle Code section 5201, which requires that license plates be clearly visible. The trial court granted appellant’s suppression motion, stating that the tow bar was not the obstruction contemplated by the statute. The appellate court here reversed. Since the tow bar blocked the deputy’s view of the license plate, appellant was in violation of section 5201. Since a law enforcement officer may briefly detain a vehicle if objective facts indicate a violation of traffic laws, the stop was lawful, and the suppression motion should not have been granted.