It is probably fair to say that in many DUI cases, a police investigation starts with a traffic stop. Police can approach a driver because of speeding or weaving outside his lane or observe not hands-free cell phone usage. Cell phone police stop seemingly gives police a reason to stop a motorist. Once the police initiates a traffic stop and approaches a driver, a smell of an alcoholic beverage can cause a DUI investigation and can result in an arrest for a DUI. If that happened, please contact our office to talk to a Los Angeles DUI lawyer.
Most police agencies follow strict protocol when it comes to DUI investigations and traffic stops including cell phone police stops.
If you got arrested for a DUI, you will need a DUI attorney to look at the facts of your case to determine if the police violated your rights by pulling you over. For example, many traffic stops are initiated because police officers observe drivers holding telephones in their hands. Some cell phone uses are ok in a car but allow other uses. The statute prohibiting the usage of mobile telephones in the car only prohibits a driver from holding a telephone while conversing (or texting). For reference see CVC 23123.4 and CVC 23123.5.
Court of Appeals in People v. Spriggs reversed a conviction of a motorist who was looking at a map to drive around congestion. (People v. Spriggs (5th district, 2014)). There Mr. Spriggs had a cell phone police stop because a CHP officer saw Steven Spriggs looking at a map on the telephone. The CHP officer issued a citation to Mr. Springs and Mr. Springs went to trial. At trial Mr. Spriggs was found guilty, however, the court of appeals looked at the legislative history, the plain meaning of the statute, and executive branch action and reversed the conviction. Thus a cell phone police stop may be illegal.
If you are pulled over and got arrested for drunk driving after a cell phone police stop, you should talk to a lawyer. Los Angeles DUI lawyer can help defend your case in court and at the DMV because of an illegal stop. Our direct number is (323) 464-6424 and we are available almost anytime to talk to you. People v. Spriggs court makes it clear that using a map or any other application (Pandora, YouTube, etc.) may not be illegal because it does not involve “conversing” and it can not be used as a basis to issue California Vehicle Code 23123/4 citation or start a DUI investigation after a cell phone stop in Los Angeles.