E.D.Mo.: Slightly speeding is still speeding and supports a stop

Defendant was slightly speeding and does not dispute it. The gravity of the traffic offense doesn’t matter on the reasonableness of the stop. United States v. Betances, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105632 (E.D.Mo. May 18, 2020):

The seriousness of [a traffic] violation is not relevant. Rather, “[any] violation of traffic law, even a minor violation, is sufficient probable cause to support a stop.” United States v. Miller, 915 F.3d 1207, 1209 (8th Cir. 2019); see also United States v. Bloomfield, 40 F.3d 910, 915 (8th Cir. 1994) (en banc) (citation omitted). An officer’s subjective motivations for stopping the vehicle are also not relevant, “even if the officer conducted the valid traffic stop as a pretense for investigating other criminal activity.” United States v. Hambrick, 630 F.3d 742, 746 (8th Cir. 2011); see also Whren, 517 U.S. at 812-13 (explaining that “[s]ubjective intentions play no role in ordinary, probable-cause Fourth Amendment analysis”). Thus, a traffic stop supported by probable cause “is valid even if the police would have ignored the traffic violation but for their suspicion that greater crimes are afoot.” United States v. Thomas, 93 F.3d 479, 485 (8th Cir. 1996). It is the government’s burden of showing that probable cause existed to justify the traffic stop. United States v. Andrews, 454 F.3d 919, 922 (8th Cir. 2006).

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