MD: License plate reader’s alert of lack of insurance was RS for stop

The trooper’s license plate reader scan showed defendant’s vehicle had no insurance on file. That was reasonable suspicion for the stop. Gary v. State, 2019 Md. App. LEXIS 870 (Oct. 9, 2019). Also,

We recognize that courts throughout the country are split on the issue of whether it is reasonable to infer that the registered owner of a vehicle is in that vehicle for purposes of a stop. The majority rule appears to be that the inference is reasonable unless there is evidence to the contrary. See United States v. Pyles, 904 F.3d 422, 424-25 (6th Cir. 2018) (holding that, “It is fair to infer that the registered owner of a car is in the car absent information that defeats the inference”); United States v. Chartier, 772 F.3d 539, 543 (8th Cir. 2014) (holding that reasonable articulable suspicion does not require the officer to “affirmatively identify the sex of the driver or further investigate the driver’s physical appearance before initiating a traffic stop”); Armfield v. State, 918 N.E.2d 316, 321-22 (Ind. 2009) (holding that an officer has reasonable articulable suspicion to initiate a stop when “(1) the officer knows that the registered owner of a vehicle has a suspended license and (2) the officer is unaware of any evidence or circumstances which indicate that the owner is not the driver of the vehicle”).

Nevertheless, at least one state, Kansas, has rejected the “owner-is-the-driver presumption,” instead holding that the State bears the burden of proving that the officer had reasonable suspicion. State v. Glover, 308 Kan. 590, 422 P.3d 64, 72 (Kan. 2018), cert. granted, 139 S. Ct. 1445, 203 L. Ed. 2d 680 (2019). Although the United States Supreme Court will not hear argument on this issue until November 4, 2019, we agree with the majority of jurisdictions that it is reasonable to infer, absent information to the contrary, that the owner of the vehicle is in the vehicle. Accordingly, Trooper Tittle possessed reasonable articulable suspicion to stop the vehicle despite not being able to identify the occupants’ genders or races prior to the stop.

This entry was posted in Reasonable suspicion. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.