Tag Archives: traffic lawyer clayton missouri

Cops need a warrant to get your vehicle’s black box data

Missouri cops will need to get a search warrant before they can access data from your automobile’s black box.

A recent decision in the Western District of Missouri basically blocks law enforcement from obtaining your black box data after an accident, unless you either consent or they get a warrant.

The appellate court took up the case of a man that had been stopped at traffic and was struck by a semi from behind. The Missouri Highway Patrol then downloaded the data stored on the semi’s electronic control module (ECM). Officers did not use a warrant and argued that there were exigent circumstances, therefore, the semi driver had no expectation of privacy of the data. Up to then, obtaining the black box data had been standard procedure for the highway patrol.

The patrol officer claimed that the driver had given him consent, but that box had not been checked off in his police report. The appellate court relied on a recent US Supreme Court case on GPS spying to find the police arguments were insufficient.

Judge Cynthia L. Martin wrote: “Sergeant Meyers’s testimony underscores that ECM data was seized from West’s truck not because there was probable cause to believe that West had committed a crime and that evidence of the crime could be found in the truck, but instead to investigate an accident to determine whether West had committed a crime.”

The court added that to allow warrantless searches on these grounds would “emasculate” the Fourth Amendment to the constitution.

Here is an unofficial summary of the case and should not be used as legal doctrine:

(1) The State’s arguments on appeal asserting error in granting the motion to suppress which were not raised with the trial court are not preserved for appellate review.

(2) Either a reasonable expectation of privacy or trespass on a possessory interest in a Fourth Amendment protected effect will afford standing to assert a Fourth Amendment violation. Here, West was the lawful operator and possessor of the semitruck at the time the police physically intruded into the semi-truck’s passenger compartment to connect a computer to the ECM located underneath the semi-truck’s dash. That physical intrusion into, and occupation of, the semi-truck constituted an actionable trespass into a protected Fourth Amendment effect (a vehicle) which afforded West standing to move to suppress the data downloaded from the ECM.

(3) The automobile exception allows police to search a vehicle and seize
contraband found therein without a warrant if there is probable cause to believe that the vehicle contains contraband and exigent circumstances necessitate the search. The State presented no evidence during the hearing on the motion to suppress to suggest or establish that the police had probable cause to believe that contraband or illegal items were located in the semi-truck.

(4) While the State presented testimony that ECM data might be overwritten if the semi-truck was moved, the trial court did not find this evidence to be sufficient to constitute an exigent circumstance permitting a warrantless search. The trial court’s finding was supported by substantial evidence.

(State of Missouri v. Anthony West, WD80879)

Legislature proposes a bill to curb racial profiling by law enforcement

Lawmakers in Missouri are reviewing a bill that is designed to curb discriminatory policing among law enforcement agencies. The bill, which recently had a hearing before a legislative committee, calls for disciplinary options and procedures that would be a check on discriminatory practices.

The bill places penalties on both individual law enforcement and on their agency when they are found engaging in discriminatory policing or racial profiling. Discipline could include counseling, termination, or training of any officer found to have engaged in discriminatory policing.

If a law enforcement department is found to have a disproportionate number of minority drivers stopped compared to the state average, the attorney general can provide resources to address it. If the problem continues for another three years, the attorney general could remove the agency’s funding by directing the local governing body to forfeit 25% of the police department’s revenue received from court costs, bond forfeitures, and fines.

Additionally, the bill calls for officers to use a consent search policy and requires information to be gathered from every vehicle stop. The data collected will then be analyzed by the attorney general.

The consent search would require that an officer prior to requesting a search would have to clearly state, either orally or in writing, in a language the person being questioned clearly understands that their consent must be voluntary.

Next, an officer would have to get recorded audio or video or written consent from the person who was stopped.

Officers will be expected to collect 11 pieces of information that include a reason for the stop, whether a search was conducted, and whether a warning or citation was issued.

Then by March 1st of each year, the agency must submit its report to the attorney general who will analyze the data and submit a report to the state legislature by June 1st of each year.

FAQs about Missouri’s Chemical Revocation Laws

You are driving home from a party. In your rear view mirror you see the red lights and hear the siren of police car pulling you over. The problem is you had a few drinks, but you’re not sure just how much alcohol you have had. Questions race through your mind. Do I blow in a machine that tests my alcohol content?

You are now being arrested for driving while intoxicated. The police officer asks you to submit to a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol content or drug level.

While you have 20 minutes to contact an attorney to ask what to do, sometimes you simply aren’t able to get in touch with an attorney. You are confused on whether to say “Yes” or “No.” If you say, “No,” and refuse to blow, the State of Missouri deems you to have consented to such testing under its “implied consent” law. Again, you have the right to refuse to submit to the test but if you refuse to take the alcohol or drug test, your Missouri driving privilege will be revoked for one year. This is known as a “Chemical Revocation.”

The topic of chemical revocation can be confusing. The Missouri Department of Revenue has a helpful Website that provides a lot of information related to the implied consent law and chemical revocation. Here are a few Q&A’s from the DOR that will help answer some of your questions:

Can I have any type of driving privilege while I am under a Chemical Revocation?

You may be eligible for a Limited Driving Privilege (LDP). The LDP may be used for work, your alcohol program, medical treatment, school, etc. You must install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) and file an SR-22 form.

Do I need an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) to reinstate my Missouri driving privilege after I have served my 1-year revocation period?

If your driver record shows more than one intoxication-related law enforcement contact, you are required to have an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed on any vehicle you operate. You must maintain the device for a minimum period of six months from the reinstatement date. You will be monitored during the last three months of the six-month period. If you have any violations, as determined by the device manufacturer during the monitoring period, your requirement to maintain the device will be extended until you complete a three-consecutive-month period without violation. Violations are defined in 7 CSR 60-2.010 (refer to “violations reset” language).

What is an SR-22 insurance filing?

An SR-22 form is an insurance filing from your insurance company that shows your motor vehicle has liability insurance.

How long do I need the SR-22 insurance filing?

You must file the SR-22 form for two years from the effective date of your Chemical Revocation.

Why do I need to complete a Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program (SATOP) if I was not convicted (or, I was convicted of a lesser charge)?

If you have an alcohol offense, such as an alcohol or drug revocation on your driver record, the law requires you to complete a SATOP (or comparable course) as a condition of reinstating your driving privilege in Missouri.

Where can I get information about Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program (SATOP) courses?

Information regarding SATOP courses is available on the Missouri Department of Mental Health, Division of Behavioral Health website. For a SATOP provider near you check out our list of SATOP providers.

How do I appeal the revocation of my driving privilege?

You must petition the Circuit or Associate Circuit Court in the county where the arrest or stop occurred. A petition for review must be filed within 30 days from the date the Notice of Revocation is issued. If the arrest or stop occurred in another state, you must petition the Cole County Circuit Court, in Jefferson City, Missouri.

When will the Chemical Revocation come off my driver record?

A Chemical Revocation (for refusal to submit to an alcohol or drug test) is a permanent part of the record and can never be removed.

Zipper merging = the safer way

The next time you drive up to a road construction site transportation experts want you to think “Zipper.”  So instead of merging into a single lane early as possible, experts state that it is better to drive to the end of the lane that has to merge and proceed to take turns merging in a zipper-like fashion.

The problem typically occurs when most drivers see the first “lane closed ahead” sign in a work zone and they immediately slow down and attempt to merge into the lane that will continue through the construction area. People assume that if they don’t merge early they no-one will allow them to merge later, or that it is impolite to pass up the line to merge closer to the work zone.  And sometimes driver’s will react angrily that another car has passed them up after they had been waiting in line first and for a longer time.  Some will even straddle the center line between the two lanes to prevent such attempts.

But the reality is that the passersbys are following proper protocol while the lane straddlers are in the wrong.  Zipper merging is the most efficient way for traffic to come together when the number of lanes has been reduced.

This early merging behavior often leads to dangerous lane switching, serious crashes and even road rage.

Experts state the benefits of zipper merging is that research shows it decreases the possibility of dangerous lane switching and other accidents that lead to road rage.  Don’t worry about being nice at the first sight of a construction zone.  Stay in your current lane up to the point of merging. Then alternate with other drivers to safely ease into the remaining open lane.

So the bottom line is that courtesy driving in the context of lane closures is to proceed to the end of the lane where you take turns merging into the open lane.  This will lead to less accidents and road rage.

Appellate Court rules on breathalyzer certification check

A recent Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District decision reversed and remanded the lower court by holding that a trial court erred in excluding the test result from evidence because the Director of Revenue laid a proper foundation for its admission.

The Department of Health and Senior Services regulation 19 CSR 25-30.051(4) requires annual certification of any breath alcohol simulator used to perform a maintenance check on an evidential breath analyzer. The Court went on to say that to lay a foundation for the admission of a breath test result at trial, the Director only need submit proof the simulator was certified at the time of the relevant maintenance check.  In this case, that check was performed within 35 days prior to the Driver’s breath test. The Court said the Director does not have to submit proof of certification from any other year for purposes of admissibility.

The Director of Revenue had appealed from the judgment of the trial court reinstating the driving privileges of Justin Scott Hickenbotham.  The Director argued on appeal that the trial court erred in reinstating the driver’s driving privileges because the court erred in excluding from evidence the breath test result showing Driver’s blood alcohol content exceeded the legal limit.

The opinion was written by Judges Sherri B. Sullivan and Roy L. Richter.  Judge Colleen Dolan concurred.  Rachel Jones was the attorney for Appellant.  Attorneys for Respondent were Chastidy Dillon-Amelung and John F. Newsham.  The case was Justin Scott Hickenbotham v. Department of Revenue.

The Court referenced several previous cases in its analysis and stated the following: “Sellenriek’s and Kern’s reasoning that the only relevant evidence is that which demonstrates compliance when the breath test was administered is still good law and applies in this case. See Harrell, 488 S.W.3d at 208. As with the maintenance check provision, implicit in 19 CSR 25-30.051(4) is that a breath analyzer simulator certified at the time of the relevant maintenance check is capable of accurately calibrating the breath analyzer. Carey v. Dir. of Rev., —- S.W.3d —- (Mo. App. E.D. March 28, 2017); see Sellenriek, 826 S.W.2d at 340. Nothing in the regulations suggests the accuracy of the simulator at the time of the maintenance check is dependent on the certification of the simulator in prior or subsequent years. See Sellenriek, 826 S.W.2d at 340; Harrell, 488 S.W.3d at 208. “The Director need not prove the existence of certifications before the one in effect at the time of the relevant maintenance check in order to comply with 19 CSR 25-30.051(4).” Carey, —- S.W.3d —-. Instead, a foundation for the admission of the breath test result is laid when the Director presents evidence the simulator was certified at the time of the relevant maintenance check. Harrell, 488 S.W.3d at 208.

“Evidence of whether the simulator was properly certified in prior or subsequent years

goes to the weight of the breath test result, not its admissibility. See Kern, 936 S.W.2d at 862. Furthermore, Driver’s interpretation of 19 CSR 25-30.051(4) would mean a simulator not certified in 2013 or any subsequent year is effectively unusable and fails to account for simulators brought into use any time after 2013, an illogical reading leading to irrational results.”

The Court went on to say that in the present case: “The Director laid a sufficient foundation for admission of the result of the breath test administered in 2015 by submitting the 2015 simulator certification. The Director’s point on appeal is granted. Because the court did not make a finding as to whether Trooper Ganime had probable cause to arrest Driver, the cause is remanded for additional findings by the trial court.”

Clayton, MO Traffic Court

Clayton Traffic Lawyers

Did you get a ticket in Clayton, Missouri?

Stop Sign, Electric Signal Violation, Driving While Suspended, Possession of Marijuana, or any other ticket, our Clayton traffic lawyers can handle it where “no points” is the goal.

Clayton Speeding Ticket Traffic Law Defense

Did you receive a Speeding ticket in Clayton?

Our Clayton traffic lawyers handle speeding ticket defense, where “no points” is the goal.

Clayton MIP Lawyers

Did you receive a Minor in Possession ticket?

Our Clayton MIP lawyers handle MIP defense, where the object is keeping your record clean and your driver license from being suspended or revoked.

Clayton DWI Criminal Defense Attorneys

Did you receive a ticket for Driving While Intoxicated?

Our Clayton DWI attorneys handle drunk driving defense, where your driver license and your freedom are at stake. We handle all aspects including the Administrative Hearing or the ramifications of a refusal.

Let our Clayton traffic law attorneys start helping you today. Contact Us

This page contains Court information Links for Clayton, Missouri.

Clayton Municipal Court

10 S. Brentwood
Clayton, MO 63105

Tel: (314) 290-8441
Fax: (314) 863-0295

City of Clayton, MO website.

For more information regarding your case visit municourt.net.

Judge
Hon. Joseph Dulle

Prosecuting Attorney
Darold E. Crotzer, Jr, Esq.

Court Administrator
Rico Jones

Court Dates and Docket Dates
Traffic: 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month at 6:00 P.M. Doors open at 5:30
Housing: 2nd Thursday of every month at 9:00 A.M.

For information on your ticket, click here.

Court fines may be paid by one of the following methods:

  1. Pay Traffic Tickets Online at https://www.ipaycourt.com/claytonParking tickets can be paid here.
  2. Mail payments in the form of check or money order only made payable to City of Clayton to: Municipal Court
    City of Clayton
    10 S. Brentwood Blvd
    Clayton, MO  63105
  3. Pay fines in person with cash, check, money order, MasterCard or Visa.  Please note that court fine payments must be received before 4:00 p.m. on the day of court.