Police arrive at scene of a two car accident. Both drivers admit that they were driving and identify each other as driving. Turns out one of the drivers has a suspended license. Can the police arrest that driver without a warrant on site?
It sounded simple when it was first asked, but...
I don't see the hole. An accident. Police arrive. Exchange of information required. Police processing/monitoring exchange. Notice suspended license. Not a traffic offense. Good arrest??? Maybe that is why Diane wrote the book on warrantless search and seizure.
The twist is that the officer did not see the driver operating the vehicle. Both parties are out of the cars when the police arrive.
I assume this was the only basis for the arrest? If so, I would make the argument that the driver admitted driving and the other driver corroborated the driving, as does the accident, so there is no denying the driving. The facts are as if the police officer observed the driving. Meanwhile, I will look over some provisions. In these circumstances it insults the system to say no arrest was legally possible.
You might want to try an argument that driving with a suspended license is a breach of the peace under art. 14.03(a). After all, BOP covers failing to stop and give information after a wreck and dangerous driving. See 936-332; 907-600; and 842-701; but see 812-326; and 830-348 (all cases are in TDCAA's Criminal Laws of Texas under CCP 14.01). Also, take a look at DWI cases putting the defendant behind the wheel. Hope this helps.
I think John's right. An officer can have probable cause without having personally observed all of the elements of the offense. See cases like Myles, 946 SW2d 630; Lunde, 736 SW2d 665; and Dempsey, 857 SW2d 759 for support of this.
Maybe I am missing something, Cole, but if the offense occurred, and the non-suspended driver has given a statement, the charge can still be filed even if he could not have been arrested. The arrest and post-arrest statements might be suppressed, but the offense has already been committed. One more thing, did the suspended driver have a passenger in the car?
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