Admissibility of an Anonymous Tip

Posted on November 6, 2014

Courts of Justice

In some cases, the courts uphold a DUI stop even if the caller does not identify themselves. However, rulings vary depending on the situation, so contact the professionals at our San Francisco DUI law firm for additional information.

Background in a Sample Case

In California, a law enforcement officer received a radio call regarding a suspected drunk driver veering all over the road. The information was apparently based on a tip from an unidentified individual. The person gave a valid description of the vehicle and an approximate location. The officer watched the van but did not see the driver break any traffic laws. Even so, the officer initiated a traffic stop and then took the motorist into custody for impaired driving.

Ruling in the Case

The California Supreme Court agreed that they did not know who called in the tip. However, they upheld the legality of the stop for four reasons. First, they were concerned about the danger an impaired driver posed to other motorists. Second, they did not think someone would call in a false tip regarding a drunk driver. Third, they ruled that a traffic stop to investigate the tip was not a violation of a person’s rights. Finally, the location and the description of the van matched that given by the tipster.

If you think that you were charged based on information from an anonymous tip, call our San Francisco DUI attorney to discuss the admissibility of this evidence. In some cases, we may be able to argue that the tip was not valid and that the evidence should be suppressed. You can reach Silveira Law at (415) 795-3890.