Police Can Now Pull You Over With Only an Anonymous Tip

Illegal Arrest?

The United States Supreme Court has issued a ruling that allows police officers to stop, search and detain a person driving a vehicle simply based on information received through an anonymous tip 911 call.

In a close 5-4 decision, the court ruled on a case where a 911 call was placed that reported a pickup truck had almost struck her and caused an accident. That 911 call provided the location of the near accident, as well as, the type of vehicle and license plate number.

Shortly after receiving the call, the police curbed a vehicle matching that description. During the stop, officers smelled cannabis and, as a result of the stop and search, found a large quantity of cannabis in the vehicle. The driver was then arrested.

The driver filed a motion to quash the arrest and suppress the evidence stating that officers did not have a basis for stopping his vehicle. Police did not observe any traffic violations and all the police had to rely on was an anonymous tip 911 call.

The court’s ruling now gives police the ability to rely on an anonymous tip 911 call to stop and arrest an individual based on that call, thereby expanding the ability of police to arrest an individual.

Previous law has held that police could stop individuals based on 911 calls but the information provided needs to amount to reasonable suspicion to committing a criminal offense.

The danger of this ruling is that an anonymous caller to 911 can now make a claim, and given enough detail, would lead to the arrest of another person without proper safeguards to protect that individual’s constitutional and due process rights. There is no way for a 911 operator to know if the anonymous tip caller is providing truthful information or not.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a criminal offense including felony, misdemeanor, traffic or drug crimes you need to have an experience criminal defense team that can protect your rights. Contact The Law Office of Purav Bhatt at 773-791-9682 to discuss your matter.

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