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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:A Fredericksburg police officer stopped a vehicle being driven by Craig Hill Johnson solely because the license plate on Johnson’s vehicle was partially obscured by the dealer-installed license plate frame. Johnson was subsequently charged with felony driving while intoxicated. Before trial Johnson moved to suppress the evidence and fruits of his arrest and search, because the arrest was “without a warrant and without reasonable suspicion to stop or probable cause to arrest.” In his testimony, the police officer identified a photograph of the license plate with the license plate frame; and Johnson in his testimony identified a photograph of the license plate without the dealer-installed frame. A comparison of the two photographs establishes that the frame entirely covers the phrase “THE LONE STAR STATE” and probably covers the images of the space shuttle and the starry night. The trial court granted Johnson’s motion, concluding that, because an observer could read the numbers and tell that the plate was a Texas plate, the stop was not justified. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. The license plate frame on Johnson’s vehicle entirely covered the phrase “THE LONE STAR STATE” and probably covered the images of the space shuttle and the starry night; and these images and phrase are all original design elements of the plate. Accordingly, the police officer had reasonable suspicion of a violation of Texas Transportation Code �502.409(a)(7) and a valid basis to make the stop; consequently, the trial court erred in granting Johnson’s motion to suppress, the court concludes. OPINION:Duncan, J.; Duncan, Speedlin and Simmons, J.J.

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