A pretextual stop is one wherein a police officer has motive other than an observed traffic violation (ex. to search for drugs) to stop a driver. Although the Fourth Amendment protects against illegal search and seizure, it was unanimously decided in Whren v. United States, a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, that any traffic offense committed by a driver would serve as a valid basis for officers to make the traffic stop and act on any additional law enforcement motive. As long as an officer has probable cause of a traffic violation having occurred, the driver may be stopped and any evidence of criminal activity in plain view may also be seized. If you have been charged criminally after a traffic stop, call Azari Law at 301.362.3300 to discuss your case and defense options.