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Driving On Suspended while pushing broke down car

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My car was broke down and sitting in a lot when i decided to get help to push it to the shop to get more fixed on it and sell it, because i have no extra money for tow or roadside assistance. So i got a driving on a suspended ticket on the street by a highway patrol who pulled up to also assist me in pushing it to another location. I was in the rain behind my car when he pulled up. He told me to get in so he could help. Once out of the way good he ran the tag and impounded my car giving me a driving on a suspended, no insurance or tags. I was never behind the wheel until he told me to get in my car.

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The presumption is that you drove the car to the location where it broke down and had to be pushed.

 

That's all it takes for the officer to cite you and impound the car.

 

Some of those violations might or might not involve actually "driving." You can look up the vehicle statutes that appear on your citations:

 

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/calawquery?codesection=veh&codebody=&hits=20

 

Read each one carefully and consult an attorney to review your option as this affair is going to cost you a barrel full of money.

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I agree this is a very interesting case. But the officer/State's Attorney won't be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt  that you drove the vehicle to that location if you were never seen in physical control of the car. Please let me know what state this occured in and i'll look for some legal case laws to support your defense.

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I agree this is a very interesting case. But the officer/State's Attorney won't be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt  that you drove the vehicle to that location if you were never seen in physical control of the car. .

I don't know how you could believe that.  The cop didn't need to see him drive.  Even without him telling the cop he drove (which I would bet he did), circumstantial evidence makes it pretty clear that he drove.  He's alone in the rain pushing his car and the keys...

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the officer/State's Attorney won't be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt  that you drove the vehicle to that location if you were never seen in physical control of the car.

 

First of all, the conditional statement at the end of this sentence makes no sense.  The OP wrote that he/she got "help to push [the car] to the shop . . . [and that] a highway patrol [officer] . . . pulled up to also assist [the OP] . . . [and found the OP] in the rain behind [the] car."  Nothing indicates the OP wasn't "in physical control of the car.  Second, your conclusion is not supported by the facts known.  While we don't have all of the specifics of what was happening when the cop came upon the OP's car, it appears and may well be that the OP had arranged to move the vehicle out of the parking lot and onto a public street, which could give rise to an inference that the vehicle was being operated by the OP prior to it becoming non-operational.

 

 

Please let me know what state this occured in

 

Any reason why you'd think it isn't the state that's clearly identified in the tag beneath the subject header of the post?

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I respectfully disagree that the state may sustain its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt by "inferring" or "assuming" the defendant operated the vehicle while his license was suspended from the facts given. Even if it is permissible to assume that at some point the defendant drove the vehicle to the point from which he was pushing it, the is no proof when he did so. He could have left it there a month ago. Or, a friend could have driven it there. This may be one circumstance where hiring an attorney may be a good idea.

I'm not going to do legal research on California law but I would feel confident I could get an acquittal in Virginia. Powers v. Commonwealth, 211 Va. 386, 177 S.E.2d 628 (1970) held a driver who had crashed into a tree so hard the motor left his vehicle after leaving skid marks 900 feet long could not be convicted of reckless driving. No one had seen the crash and no one could exclude other possible causes, such as illness or stuck throttle or other possible mechanical problems. The Commonwealth is not entitled to infer or assume the driver was driving recklessly.

In the instance case no one saw the defendant driving before the officer arrived. I would definitely fight this.

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I respectfully disagree. . . .

 

There are facts missing from the original post that could be quite important to this issue.  At the start of the story, the car was "sitting in a lot," but then the OP got "help to push it to the shop," and it sounds to me like this was in progress when the CHP officer "pulled up to also assist" the OP.  We don't know where the car was at that point, so we don't know what sorts of inferences are reasonable.  We also don't know the specific section of the Vehicle Code (or local ordinance) with which the OP was charged with violating.  Even if an inference of "driving" isn't permissible (VC 12500), it may be that the OP violated some law that doesn't require "driving."

 

The problem with what "deangelolee89" wrote is that he/she made unequivocal statements about how the case will turn out without having all of the relevant facts.  CHiPs don't give out tickets that could require them to appear in court just for the fun of it, so chances are there was some reasonable basis for believing the OP violated some law.

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I respectfully disagree that the state may sustain its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt by "inferring" or "assuming" the defendant operated the vehicle while his license was suspended from the facts given. Even if it is permissible to assume that at some point the defendant drove the vehicle to the point from which he was pushing it, the is no proof when he did so. He could have left it there a month ago. Or, a friend could have driven it there. This may be one circumstance where hiring an attorney may be a good idea.

I'm not going to do legal research on California law but I would feel confident I could get an acquittal in Virginia. Powers v. Commonwealth, 211 Va. 386, 177 S.E.2d 628 (1970) held a driver who had crashed into a tree so hard the motor left his vehicle after leaving skid marks 900 feet long could not be convicted of reckless driving. No one had seen the crash and no one could exclude other possible causes, such as illness or stuck throttle or other possible mechanical problems. The Commonwealth is not entitled to infer or assume the driver was driving recklessly.

In the instance case no one saw the defendant driving before the officer arrived. I would definitely fight this.

 

 

I agree 100% with you! That is exactally what I meant by saying they have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. It's gonna be hard for the state of California to prove it's case, because as you stated there are so many defenses & arguments the defendant could used. Further, the officer never saw the defendant driving which makes the case hard to prove. Circumstantial evidence still won't prove beyond a resonable doubt that the defendant was driving and therefore the State cannot prove there case unless there is some other evidence that we are unaware of. A good defense attorney will be able to get the charges dismissed. Also, this case might be able to get dismissed off a simple motion to dismiss and quash arrest due to the fact the officer had no probable cause to ask the defendant for his drivers license. When the officer arrived he never saw the defendant commiting a crime or about to commit a crime and therefore he did nothave probable cause to summons this person. The officer assisted this guy by conducting his "community caretaking" fuction, he was not investigation any crime and therefore should of never asked for a drivers license because this was not a traffic stop.   A detention occurs when an officer intentionally applies physical restraint or initiates a show of authority to which an objectively reasonable person innocent of wrongdoing would feel compelled to submit, and to which such a person in fact submits. (People v. Cartwright (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 1362, 1367, citing California v. Hodari D. (1991) 499 U.S. 621, 626; Brower v. Inyo County (1989) 489 U.S. 593, 596-597; Bostick,

supra, 501 U.S. 429, 434, 437-438; and INS v. Delgado (1984) 466 U.S. 210, 215, 218.) "In situations involving a show of authority, a person is seized 'if "in view of all of the circumstances surrounding the incident, a reasonable person would have believed that he was not free to leave," ' or ' "otherwise terminate the encounter" ' ([Brendlin v. California, supra, 551 U.S. at p. 255]), and if the person actually submits to the show of authority (id. at p. 254)." (People v. Brown, supra, 61 Cal.4th at p. 974.) The test for the existence of a show of authority is an objective one and thus, "[n]either the officer's uncommunicated state of mind nor the subjective belief of the individual citizen is relevant to the determination of whether a police contact is a detention." (In re Christopher B. (1990) 219 Cal.App.3d 455, 460.)

        "Examples of circumstances that might indicate a seizure, even where the person did not attempt to leave, would be the threatening presence of several officers, the display of a weapon by an officer, some physical touching of the person of the citizen, or the use of language or tone of voice indicating that compliance with the officer's request might be compelled." (Mendenhall, supra, 446 U.S. at p. 554; People v. Terrell (1999) 69 Cal.App.4th 1246, 1254 (Terrell).) Our case law indicates that other relevant factors include the time and place of the encounter, whether the police indicated the defendant was suspected of a crime, whether the police retained the defendant's documents, and whether the police exhibited other threatening behavior. (See, e.g., Wilson v. Superior Court (1983) 34 Cal.3d 777, 790; People v. Garry (2007) 156 Cal.App.4th 1100, 1110-1112; Castaneda, supra, 35 Cal.App.4th at p. 1227; People v. Spicer (1984) 157 Cal.App.3d 213, 218-220.)

 

THEREFORE, THIS STARTED OFF AS A  consensual encounter AND TURNED INTO AN UNLAWFUL SEIZURE, IN VIOLATION OF THE 4TH AMENDMENT.

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There are facts missing from the original post that could be quite important to this issue.  At the start of the story, the car was "sitting in a lot," but then the OP got "help to push it to the shop," and it sounds to me like this was in progress when the CHP officer "pulled up to also assist" the OP.  We don't know where the car was at that point, so we don't know what sorts of inferences are reasonable.  We also don't know the specific section of the Vehicle Code (or local ordinance) with which the OP was charged with violating.  Even if an inference of "driving" isn't permissible (VC 12500), it may be that the OP violated some law that doesn't require "driving."

 

The problem with what "deangelolee89" wrote is that he/she made unequivocal statements about how the case will turn out without having all of the relevant facts.  CHiPs don't give out tickets that could require them to appear in court just for the fun of it, so chances are there was some reasonable basis for believing the OP violated some law.

 

   The United States Supreme Court has made clear that, in determining whether an encounter is consensual or constitutes a detention, a court should consider the totality of the circumstances rather than adopt any per se rules about particular facts. (Bostick, supra, 501 U.S. 429.) A court should consider all the circumstances surrounding the encounter to decide whether an objectively reasonable person, who is innocent of wrongdoing, would have believed he or she was free to go. (Mendenhall, supra, 446 U.S. at p. 554; Bostick, supra, 501 U.S. at pp. 437-438.) "Moreover, what constitutes a restraint on liberty prompting a person to conclude that he is not free to 'leave' will vary, not only with the particular police conduct at issue, but also with the setting in which the conduct occurs." (Michigan v. Chesternut (1988) 486 U.S. 567, 573.) The Supreme Court has emphasized that "for the most part per se rules are inappropriate in the Fourth Amendment context. The proper inquiry necessitates a consideration of 'all of the circumstances surrounding the encounter.' " (United States v. Drayton (2002) 536 U.S. 194, 201.)

        In short, there is "no 'bright-line' distinction between a consensual encounter and a detention . . . . 'The test is necessarily imprecise, because it is designed to assess the coercive effect of police conduct, taken as a whole, rather than to focus on particular details of that conduct in isolation.' " (People v. Verin (1990) 220 Cal.App.3d 551, 556, citing Michigan v. Chesternut, supra, 486 U.S. at p. 573.) There is not "a litmus-paper test for distinguishing a consensual encounter from a seizure," but, rather "[t]here will be endless variations in the facts and circumstances, so much variation that it is unlikely that the courts can reduce to a sentence or a paragraph a rule that will provide unarguable answers to the question whether there has been an unreasonable search or seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment

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deangelolee89,

 

I understand you are trying to help but where in the OP's post did it claim that a police officer asked for a driver's license? You seem to be implying a course of action that simply may have not been taken.  The Op's name and therefore drivers license record could have been pulled simply from the car registration. Further, as other posters have pointed out, the full circumstances of the event have not been disclosed so there can be no determinations of any ability to prove or disprove the charges mentioned above.

 

Moreover, posting case law without context does not assist the OP. There is nothing in the post that dictates the discussion of probable cause for an arrest. Was the OP arrested?

 

The FindLaw.com Team

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deangelolee89,

 

I understand you are trying to help but where in the OP's post did it claim that a police officer asked for a driver's license? You seem to be implying a course of action that simply may have not been taken.  The Op's name and therefore drivers license record could have been pulled simply from the car registration. Further, as other posters have pointed out, the full circumstances of the event have not been disclosed so there can be no determinations of any ability to prove or disprove the charges mentioned above.

 

Moreover, posting case law without context does not assist the OP. There is nothing in the post that dictates the discussion of probable cause for an arrest. Was the OP arrested?

 

The FindLaw.com Team

 

I agree we need more facts...........however, I still believe that this went from a consensual encounter to an unlawful detention. Further, there may not be anything in the post that dictates the discussion of probable cause for an arrest, but an officer needs probable cause to turn an consensual encounter into an lawful detention. Also the officercould have arrested the OP instead of giving a ticket, for drivingwhilesuspended/revoked.

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deangelolee89,

 

What do you base that belief on?

 

Where was there an unlawful detention? The situation dictates that a terry stop would have been reasonable under the circumstances.

 

Please allow the OP to direct the post.

 

The Moderator

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Let's not get too excited here. The OP also said he had dead tags. That would certainly allow a detention and request for id. Whether he was driving the vehicle or pushing it, it was on the highway without tags (or insurance).

I only addressed the driving on suspended charge because it is a very serious charge. I'm not suggesting he gets away Scot free. But pleading to dead tags and no insurance could satisfy the DA.

BTW I don't know where people get the notion that cases can be easily dismissed on motions in criminal and traffic cases. That just doesn't happen.

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Circumstantial evidence still won't prove beyond a resonable doubt that the defendant was driving. . . .

 

Nonsense.  Circumstantial evidence can be used to prove things a lot more significant than whether one was or wasn't "driving" or otherwise in control of a motor vehicle.  There's no reason it can't be used here.

 

 

 

THEREFORE, THIS STARTED OFF AS A  consensual encounter AND TURNED INTO AN UNLAWFUL SEIZURE, IN VIOLATION OF THE 4TH AMENDMENT.

 

Wow....umm...no.  There's no 4th Amendment issue here.  The OP was in public and apparently in control/possession of a vehicle with "no insurance or tags" (the latter of which would be obvious to anyone who observed the rear license plate of the car) and had no valid driver's license.  There's no question that a detention for at least long enough to impound the vehicle was appropriate and since, during that process, the officer discovered that the OP's license was suspended, the officer was justified in writing a ticket, assuming there was probable cause to believe the other elements of the offense charged were met.

 

Subject to the fact that OP didn't ask a question, the issue here is whether the OP can beat whatever the charge is.  Since we don't know the specific charge and don't have all of the relevant facts, we can't know this for sure.

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Nonsense.  Circumstantial evidence can be used to prove things a lot more significant than whether one was or wasn't "driving" or otherwise in control of a motor vehicle.  There's no reason it can't be used here.

 

 

 

I understand that circumstantial evidence can be used in this case, however the Defendant cannot be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt  only on circumstantial evidence alone, more is need to corroborate the circumstantial evidence.

 

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On the contrary, the law makes no distinction between the weight to be given either direct or circumstantial evidence.  Both are evidence and if accepted by the jury, sufficient to support a guilty verdict.  In Holland v. United States (1954) 348 U.S. 121, 139-40, the Supreme Court held that circumstantial evidence is no different intrinsically than direct evidence. Accord United States v.Frost (6th Circ. 1990), 914 F.2d 756, 762. See also Jackson v. Virginia (1979) 443 U.S. 307, 326 (1979) (no special cautionary instruction should be given on the government's burden of proof in circumstantial cases).

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the Defendant cannot be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt  only on circumstantial evidence alone, more is need to corroborate the circumstantial evidence.

 

 

Please stop arguing based on things that you are obviously making up.

 

"Both direct and circumstantial evidence are acceptable types of evidence to prove or disprove the elements of a charge, including intent and mental state and acts necessary to a conviction, and neither is necessarily more reliable than the other.  Neither is entitled to any greater weight than the other.  [A jury] must decide whether a fact in issue has been proved based on all the evidence."  Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions ("CalCrim") No. 223.
 
That being said, "before [a jury] may rely on circumstantial evidence to find the defendant guilty, [the jury] must be convinced that the only reasonable conclusion supported by the circumstantial evidence is that the defendant is guilty."  CalCrim No. 224.
 
You may review the California jury instructions (which include abundant authority supporting them) here:  http://www.courts.ca.gov/partners/documents/calcrim_2016_edition.pdf

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Please stop arguing based on things that you are obviously making up.

 

 Neither is entitled to any greater weight than the other.  [A jury] must decide whether a fact in issue has been proved based on all the evidence."  Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions ("CalCrim") No. 223.

 
That being said, "before [a jury] may rely on circumstantial evidence to find the defendant guilty, [the jury] must be convinced that the only reasonable conclusion supported by the circumstantial evidence is that the defendant is guilty."  CalCrim No. 224.
 

 

I never make anything up, here is the facts below. Also I would have to respectfully agree in part and also disagree in part with you! Cirumstantial Evidence requires a jury/judge to draw an logic and reasonabe inference from known facts. Direct evidence is testimony of a person who claims to have actual knowledge of a fact, such as an eyewitness, and this is evidence which immediately establishes the main fact to be proved. Circumstantial evidence is proof of a chain of facts and circumstances which indicate the existence of a fact. As a result, what chain of facts and circumstances (direct facts) can any trier of fact infer from this case which conclude that Defendant was driving this car beyond a reasonable doubt? None! The reason why I say that is because there are to many hypothesis of innocence that could be drawn from this case. Basically, hin this certin case he/she cannot be proved guily beyond a reasonable based on the facts we know. You are correct,  It is not necessary that facts be proved by direct evidence to convict. Both direct evidence and circumstantial evidence are acceptable as a means of proof. However, where proof of guilt is by circumstantial evidence only, it must be so conclusive in character and point so surely and unerringly to the guilt of the accused as to exclude every reasonable theory of innocence. The contrasting views on the necessity of the circumstantial evidence instruction arose after the United States Supreme Court decided Holland v. United States, 348 U.S. 121, 75 S.Ct. 127, 99 L.Ed. 150 (1954). In Holland, the Court rejected a claim of reversible error for the refusal “to instruct [the jury] that where the Government's evidence is circumstantial it must be such as to exclude every reasonable hypothesis other than that of guilt.” Holland, 348 U.S. at 139, 75 S.Ct. 127. Without extensive explanation, the Court concluded that “the better rule is that where the jury is properly instructed on the standards for reasonable doubt, such an additional instruction on circumstantial evidence is confusing and incorrect.” Id. at 139–40, 75 S.Ct. 127; seeState v. Grippon, 327 S.C. 79, 489 S.E.2d 462, 465 (1997) ( Toal, J., concurring) (“Relying on Holland..., the federal courts and a majority of state courts have abandoned the ‘reasonable hypothesis' language in favor of an approach that does not differentiate between direct and circumstantial evidence, but simply provides that a defendant's guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”) modified, State v. Logan, 405 S.C. 83, 747 S.E.2d 444, 453 (2013).

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