Don’t Drive Away from Court on a Suspended License


Several law enforcement agencies in northern California have been conducting what they call a “court sting operation”. They aren’t, however, looking for the type of criminal normally the target of sting operations. So who were they targeting? They were trying to catch people, who had their licenses had been suspended or revoked, drive away from court.

In late January, officers from the Santa Rosa and Petaluma Police Departments staked out the Sonoma County Courthouse hoping to catch individuals whose licenses had been suspended or revoked for offenses such as driving under the influence. After the judge would order the individual not to drive, officers would arrest them while they attempted to drive away from the courthouse. After being arrested, the individuals were hauled back to court and their vehicles impounded. A Santa Rosa Police press release indicated that the four arrestees, of 18 individuals who were “staked out,” were all suffering from suspensions or revocations as a result of DUI charges.

A similar operation was conducted by the San Rafael Police Department on February 12, 2013. A press release indicated that two individuals were followed by officers from their respective courtrooms at the Marin County Courthouse to their vehicles. Although the press release did not indicate the original offense for which their licenses were suspended, those caught were also hauled back to court where their cars were impounded. All of those caught face additional charges of driving on a suspended or revoked license, or driving without a license.

A word to the wise: If you’re at court and your license is suspended, find alternate transportation home. Be aware that the cops are no longer just at the courthouse to testify.

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