DUI Trial Testimony: Basis for Car Stop
by Jamison Koehler on September 19, 2013
Q: Officer, as I understand it, you were parked behind my client at the intersection of 19th and M Streets northwest?
Q: And there were two reasons you decided to pull him over?
Q: The first reason was that he didn’t pull forward immediately when the light turned green?
A: Yes, I was concerned that –
Q: — And the second reason is that when he did pull forward, he drove too slowly?
A: Yes, I –
Q: — Let’s start with the not pulling forward. You testified on direct that you honked your horn at him?
A: I used the air horn.
Q: And when you first testified to this, you said that you honked your horn a couple of times?
A: It was the air horn. I hit it one time and a couple of seconds went by, he wasn’t moving, so I hit it a couple of more times.
Q: A couple. A couple, as I understand it, is two. Is that your understanding?
A: Well, it depends, you know if –
Q: Sir, it’s a simple question. When I ask you what couple means –
THE COURT: You have to let him answer.
Q: Fair enough.
A: It — it depends and mostly concern – it – it – of the traffic. I hit it one time, that – that one should have been enough for him to react and move across the light. He –
Q: Sir, I am not asking for an explanation. I am asking for your interpretation of the word couple. A couple, what does that mean to you, sir?
A: Well, if you’re going with – do you want a specific definition?
Q: Yes, please.
A: Yes, two.
Q: Thank you. Then you testified – the second time you were asked about it, you testified that it was three times that you blew the horn, right?
Q: Okay. And then, the third time you were asked about it, you said that you blew the horn four times, right?
A: It was a total of four times from the first —
Q: — Okay. So – so –
A: — to the final –
THE PROSECUTOR: Objection, Judge.
THE COURT: Basis.
THE PROSECUTOR: I – just from what’s in evidence, it was my understanding that he testified he blew the horn four times. I don’t know where this –
THE COURT: Well, it’s cross examination.
THE PROSECUTOR: Very well, Judge.
Q: First you testified it was two times, then it was three times, then it was four?
A: I blew the horn four times, from the initial time to when he decided to pull forward.
Q: I see. And the other reason you pulled him over was once he did pull forward he was driving too slow?
A: Yes, I was concerned –
Q: What is the speed limit on 19th going south?
A: Should be 25 miles, unless otherwise posted. That’s the speed limit in the District of Columbia.
Q: And you testified on direct that he was going 20 miles —
A: — I was concerned for the safety –
Q: — Again, officer, I am not asking for an explanation. I am asking how fast he was going.
A: He was going 20 miles an hour.
Q: This is in Georgetown
A: Actually it is part of the triangle with Dupont –
Q: — So it is near Georgetown?
Q: And Thursday nights are pretty busy?
Q: With lots of people out on the street and at clubs and restaurants?
A: Yes, mostly restaurants –
Q: Was it busy on this night?
A: Yes, I would say so.
Q: He wasn’t swerving?
Q: He didn’t cross the center line?
Q: He didn’t endanger anyone?
A: Well, at that time, crossing any line, there was vehicles right when you went southbound from M Street, because it’s a majority of restaurants. On the west side of the street, there were vehicles parked on both sides. But, once we started going halfway down the block approaching L Street, there were parking spaces.
Q: Okay. And how does that answer my question?
A: No, were you asking – concern endangering, I was concerned about the safety –
Q: You already testified to that. Were you concerned the court didn’t hear your answer the first time?
THE COURT: Counselor, you can move – you can move on.
Q: I’ll move on, I’ll move on. Officer, did my client commit a traffic violation?
A: It – mostly, my concern was the – slow reaction to the long traffic light –
Q: Sir, I’m not asking you what your concern was. I’m asking you – this is a yes or no question – -did he commit a traffic violation?
A: He didn’t commit a traffic violation, but –
Q: Thank you – thank you, sir. I have no further questions.