Common Reasons Why a Driver Is Pulled Over in Oregon

Interviewer: What are you hearing from clients as the most common reason why they’re told they’re being stopped?

Shannon: The one that really ticks me off so bad is the “Failure to Signal Continuously for 100 Feet Before Making the Turn.” This is a very obnoxious set of facts because the person doesn’t necessarily have bad driving behaviors. They could be driving perfectly, but because the officer says, “They signaled starting at 70 feet, or 80 feet.”

Attorney Wilson States That Some Police Stops Are Unwarranted

Even if the officer is far away from this person and they say, “I could tell that this person had come to a complete stop, or was close to the intersection by the time they turned on their signal.”

It prompts me to say, “I know that you do these traffic patrols everyday, but you’ve got to be kidding me. You’re three football fields away and you can tell the difference between somebody tapping on their brakes and turning on their signal versus really pushing on their brakes and slowing down so much to where they’re really close to the intersection?”

I see that occurrence many times, and it’s very frustrating not only for the driver, but for myself as well. This is because I feel that statute in particular, is prejudicial and something that the officer uses when they do not have provide actual proof that the infraction occurred, but they think it did, and the judge is going to stand behind the officer.

Is It Easy to Defend Evidence Based on Police Testimony?

Interviewer: Is it easy to fight that and say, “There’s no way a normal person could see that?”

Shannon: It’s not easy to fight it, unfortunately. At trial, you can bring it up again, because to a layperson has had experiences where the officers have pulled them over for unwarranted reasons. They’ve probably had those experiences, but a judge is usually going to defer to the officer and say, “The officer thinks it occurred. I’m not going to think that they lied about it or were acting outside of their profession or authority. I’m going to allow it.”

It’s really frustrating because I’ve had cases where I’ve had video. I’ve had cases where, based on the physical location of the officers versus the physical location of the driver, there was no way that the officer could actually observe it happening. Even in those situations, it’s a very difficult thing to do. If you’re driving at night and you want to make sure that you’re not going to be pulled over, always signal way ahead of time, 200 feet before the turn.

The Best Defense Is to Be Extremely Conscientious About Your Driving Behavior

Interviewer: Then they could probably say you were signaling too long and pull you over for that. There’s probably no way to get out of it.

Shannon: That’s easier to argue that that’s not really a reason. That’s not a traffic violation. If you’re signaling for three minutes before your turn, that might be concerning, but if you’re signaling 30 seconds before your turn, for the last 300 feet, I think that’s fine.

Another thing is, say you’re pulling out onto a one-way street from a bar, and what if your first turn that you need to make to go home is at a signal that’s 60 feet away? I’ve seen officers, u-turn on your right signal, because you’re turning onto this one-way street heading home.

You’re approaching the next traffic signal and you hit your blinker again, because your blinker’s turned off after you’ve completed that first turn, to make your second turn. Logically, you think, you’ve done nothing wrong. As soon as you complete the turn, with most cars the blinkers are going to click off again.

You hit it again to make that next turn, the officer’s going to pull you over because your signal wasn’t continuous. Do you see what I’m saying? It is just really frustrating.

I can have a driver who’s been driving perfectly and because there wasn’t an actual distance of 100 feet before they needed to make that turn, there’s been case law that says, “You should just go through the light, proceed forward and then make your next turn where you can signal 100 feet.”

Interviewer: Are there any other most common reasons why people are pulled over?

Shannon: Another infraction would be “Failure to Maintain Lane.” If you’re driving through a windy area, if the officer says that your tires touched a line or you were weaving within a lane, that’s another big one.

Shannon I. Wilson, Esq.

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