Driving While Suspended Dismissed
Driver charged with Driving While Suspended following a traffic stop based on a seat belt violation. Driver was suspended due to previous DUI arrest. Case was set for trial after plea discussions with the prosecutor broke down. Central issue was whether the car stop was reasonable since the stop occurred at night and officer's view of the driver was hindered by darkness. Driver claimed he was wearing seat belt while driving but had unfastened it prior to officer approaching his window so he could retrieve items from the interior glove box. At trial, officer testified he observed the driver and that he did not see a seatbelt across driver's chest. On cross-examination, officer admitted the shoulder strap of the belt "could have" blended with the driver's shirt and thus not clearly visible, especially at night. We attacked the officer's credibility in closing statement and the Judge agreed that the stop based solely on a seat belt violation was unreasonable. The prosecutor dismissed both charges in court. Case closed.