Justifiable reason to stop driver enough to confirm subsequent conviction

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Although a police officer began following a pick-up truck after he mistakenly ran the wrong license plate number, the driver’s conviction will stand because the officer did not initiate the stop until he observed the driver make a traffic violation.

Jose Santana appealed his conviction of a Class C felony operating a motor vehicle while privileges are forfeited for life. He was pulled over by Goshen Police Officer Todd Burks after Santana failed to signal a turn less than 200 feet before turning.

Santana argued Burks did not have a valid reason for stopping his truck. He asserted the stop was improper because the officer got the license plate number incorrect.

When Burks ran Santana’s license plate, he omitted one digit and got a report that indicated the truck did not have the proper plate. For this reason, the officer started following the truck but maintained he did not pull Santana over until Santana activated his turn signal 100 to 150 feet before he turned.

Burks pointed to Indiana Code 9-21-8-25 which requires turn signals be activated at least 200 feet before turning or changing lanes.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction in Jose M. Santana v. State of Indiana, 20A04-1302-CR-54.

Citing Turner v. State, 862 N.E.2d 695, 699 (Ind. Ct. App. 2007), the Court of Appeals ruled Burks may not have followed Santana if he had entered the correct license number, but the officer still had an objectively justifiable reason to stop the driver.  




Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Lori, you must really love wedding cake stories like this one ... happy enuf ending for you?

  2. This new language about a warning has not been discussed at previous meetings. It's not available online. Since it must be made public knowledge before the vote, does anyone know exactly what it says? Further, this proposal was held up for 5 weeks because members Carol and Lucy insisted that all terms used be defined. So now, definitions are unnecessary and have not been inserted? Beyond these requirements, what is the logic behind giving one free pass to discriminators? Is that how laws work - break it once and that's ok? Just don't do it again? Three members of Carmel's council have done just about everything they can think of to prohibit an anti-discrimination ordinance in Carmel, much to Brainard's consternation, I'm told. These three 'want to be so careful' that they have failed to do what at least 13 other communities, including Martinsville, have already done. It's not being careful. It's standing in the way of what 60% of Carmel residents want. It's hurting CArmel in thT businesses have refused to locate because the council has not gotten with the program. And now they want to give discriminatory one free shot to do so. Unacceptable. Once three members leave the council because they lost their races, the Carmel council will have unanimous approval of the ordinance as originally drafted, not with a one free shot to discriminate freebie. That happens in January 2016. Why give a freebie when all we have to do is wait 3 months and get an ordinance with teeth from Day 1? If nothing else, can you please get s copy from Carmel and post it so we can see what else has changed in the proposal?

  3. Here is an interesting 2012 law review article for any who wish to dive deeper into this subject matter: Excerpt: "Judicial interpretation of the ADA has extended public entity liability to licensing agencies in the licensure and certification of attorneys.49 State bar examiners have the authority to conduct fitness investigations for the purpose of determining whether an applicant is a direct threat to the public.50 A “direct threat” is defined as “a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services as provided by § 35.139.”51 However, bar examiners may not utilize generalizations or stereotypes about the applicant’s disability in concluding that an applicant is a direct threat.52"

  4. We have been on the waiting list since 2009, i was notified almost 4 months ago that we were going to start receiving payments and we still have received nothing. Every time I call I'm told I just have to wait it's in the lawyers hands. Is everyone else still waiting?

  5. I hope you dont mind but to answer my question. What amendment does this case pretain to?