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The Right to Travel Defense in Criminal & Traffic cases

In criminal defense and traffic defense much is made about the initial seizure or traffic stop. This is because if you fight the traffic stop and win, evidence is excluded which can lead to the entire case being dismissed. In regards to fighting a traffic stop, some people argue that there is a fundamental right to travel which is a defense to whatever violation of the traffic law that led to the seizure or the accusation itself. Essentially, the argument is that the fundamental constitutional right to travel invalidates whatever statute, law, rule or regulation the government is attempting to enforce or even the court's jurisdiction. In court, unrepresented defendants can be heard to argue things such as:

  • "The constitution protects my right to travel so I do not need a driver's license, insurance, registration, etc. to operate a motor vehicle on the interstate".
  • "My right to travel is infringed by your speed zone" or
  • "I was not driving; I was exercising my fundamental right to travel pursuant to the constitution".

These arguments are meant to attack, challenge or fight a traffic stop for whatever reason in a motion to suppress, trial or traffic hearing. It is true that there is a fundamental constitutional right to travel. However, just like firearms and free speech, our travel can be regulated by our government. Constitutional arguments about the right to travel will fall on the government's deaf ears, especially when the accused is using the government's roads in an attempt to exercise the right to travel. The government has a right to regulate roads and commerce that is written into the United States Constitution.  Most judges would rule, that the right to travel is not infringed but regulated and a person can walk instead. Bicycle regulations are also enforced in traffic court.

Constitutional arguments are made all day long in criminal and traffic courts, it is what lawyers are supposed to do and judges are supposed to allow a lawyer to stand up and fight for the client, in a professional manner. Arguing against law that was established before the invention of the automobile is generally a bad idea for any case. Standard advice to everyone is do not go to court alone and let your lawyer make the arguments. To see about hiring a lawyer, please click, call or fill out the form.

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