(d)The Legislature finds and declares as follows:
(d)(2) Racial or identity profiling is a practice that presents a great danger to the fundamental principles of our Constitution and a democratic society. It is abhorrent and cannot be tolerated…
(e) “Racial or identity profiling,” for purposes of this section, is the consideration of, or reliance on, to any degree, actual or perceived race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or mental or physical disability in deciding which persons to subject to a stop or in deciding upon the scope or substance of law enforcement activities following a stop, except that an officer may consider or rely on characteristics listed in a specific suspect description. The activities include, but are not limited to, traffic or pedestrian stops, or actions during a stop, such as asking questions, frisks, consensual and nonconsensual searches of a person or any property, seizing any property, removing vehicle occupants during a traffic stop, issuing a citation, and making an arrest.
(f) A peace officer shall not engage in racial or identity profiling.
The Law Explained
Penal Code 13519.4 is one of California’s anti-discrimination laws, and protects the constitutional rights of minorities and marginalized groups of all kinds. It is considered a cornerstone of California civil rights, and has been updated as recently as 2016 to protect a greater number of people. Under this law, it is illegal for police to pull over or detain someone solely on the basis of their skin color or other minority status.
- Race, ethnicity and nationality
- Gender or gender expression
- Sexual orientation
- Mental health status or physical disability
If you were stopped or pulled over because of any of the above factors, and the traffic stop led to a DUI, you could get your DUI charge dismissed.
What counts as racial profiling?
If police are actively looking for a criminal suspect, they are allowed to use race and the other factors above as part of that suspect’s description. If they see someone who matches the description, they are allowed to use that as a factor in pulling over that individual—along with other identifying factors such as the make of their car, license plate, clothing, etc.
But police cannot pull you over or stop you solely because of your race, religion or other factors. If they do, the traffic stop is illegal and it violates your rights.
What can I do if racial profiling played a role in my DUI arrest?
You should speak to a DUI lawyer. Police cannot simply make up reasons for pulling you over; if there was evidence of a crime, or you matched a suspect, there will be a record of that. If there is no record it reinforces the possibility that discrimination or bias is why they pulled you over.
If that is the case, then all of the evidence they gathered afterward is contaminated. Your breath test, the statements you made, and other evidence was all gathered illegally and cannot be used in court. Your lawyer will file a motion to suppress the evidence, and your case could get dismissed.
Have you been charged with DUI? We can connect you with an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer and get you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call (310) 862-0199 and get your free consultation today.