If you drive a vehicle on a road in the United States, you are subject to being stopped by a police officer for a traffic or criminal violation. In order to be stopped for either a traffic violation, the police officer must have reasonable suspicion or probable cause that you have committed a traffic violation. This is generally shown through the officer’s own observations of your driving. Additionally, a police officer can pull you over if he has either reasonable suspicion or probable cause that you have or are going to commit a crime.
Once a police officer has pulled you over for either a traffic violation or criminal activity, the police officer is legally allowed to do any of the following things:
- Ask to see a drivers license, registration, insurance, or other relevant information
- Take actions related to the reason for stopping the vehicle
- Act on suspicions that the police officer has developed during the stop
- Order the driver and passengers out of the vehicle
- Have a K9 unit sniff the vehicle (as long as the K9 unit is present and the sniff doesn’t extend the stop)
- Frisk the driver or passengers if the police officer has reasonable suspicion that there are weapons or drugs present
- Search the vehicle if there is probable cause that there is evidence of a crime or stolen goods present inside the vehicle
As it can be seen, a police officer is allowed to do a wide variety of things when it comes to a simple traffic stop. As such, it is important to know what they are not allowed to do. First, a simple traffic stop like speeding does not generally justify a search of the vehicle. Second, without reasonable suspicion or probable cause of a traffic violation or crime, a police officer cannot hold you on the side of the road. Finally, a police officer cannot detain you for any longer then necessary to achieve the reason that the police officer pulled you over for in the first place (example: writing a speeding ticket).
James Minick Talks About Traffic Stops
If you have been charged with a crime after the police have pulled you over in a car, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney that can help zealously defend your case. Contact Us at Minick Law, P.C. for a free consultation on your case.
James Minick is founder and C.E.O. of Minick Law, P.C. James is committed to providing top notch legal services through his team of highly specialized legal professionals. James will defend your rights.