NJ: Computer return of car owner’s suspended DL justified stop, but it had to end when it was obvious driver was not owner

A police car computer that tells the officer the owner of a vehicle has a suspended license is reasonable suspicion for a stop, unless there is objective evidence the driver cannot be the owner. Here, it was obvious the driver was not the same gender as the owner, and the stop should have ended. Also, the officer’s stuffy nose clouded the plain smell argument. State v. Williams, 2023 N.J. LEXIS 588 (May 30, 2023).

“Mendonca next argues the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress because Officer Waddle had a pretextual, investigatory purpose for having his rental car towed, thereby subjecting it to an inventory search. However, despite Mendonca’s claims, we can find no evidence to support such an assertion. There is, in fact, nothing to suggest Officer Waddle was acting improperly and with some ulterior motive by making the decision to have the Mendonca’s rental car towed.” State v. Mendonca, 2023-Ohio-1780 (12th Dist. May 30, 2023).*

“When a vehicle subject to a lawful traffic stop contains passengers, however, the Fourth Amendment permits the detention of those passengers for the duration of the driver’s lawful detention.” State v. Brady, 2023-Ohio-1783 (9th Dist. May 30, 2023).*

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