Undercover police appeared at the courthouse in Tulare County Tuesday. The officers were not there to attend hearings, but to follow defendants into the parking lot after the specified defendant's had appeared in court. Visalia Police say that they decided to run an undercover sting to catch people appearing in court on drunk driving charges if they drove to the courthouse after a suspension of their driving privileges.

The Visalia Police say that they were targeting drivers who were suspended or revoked due to a DUI arrest. Law enforcement says that 10 people who appeared Tuesday in Tulare County Superior Court were followed from the courthouse. Officials say that the sting operation was used to ensure that drivers with allegedly suspended or revoked licenses were targeted to ensure that the individuals had found alternate means to appear in court on the DUI charges.

One man who was followed from the courthouse reportedly was arrested on suspicion of driving with a suspended or revoked license during the sting operation. Visalia Police say that the sting was set up using grant money from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Stories in the media about an arrest for an alleged driving while suspended or revoked charge often involve allegations of some kind of minor traffic stop. In other cases, the charges are often found in a string of charges. Generally, law enforcement must have some reasonable basis to make a traffic stop under our system of justice. On occasion, law enforcement may attempt some kind of sting operation to produce criminal charges.

No matter how allegations allegedly arise, it is important for people charged with a crime to consider speaking with a criminal defense lawyer to learn what defenses may be available in court.

Source: Visalia Times Delta, "Man arrested in DUI court sting in Visalia," Dec. 19, 2012