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Randomly Running Plates


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  • Randomly Running Plates

    How often do you randomly run plates while driving down the road? I do it all the time and have gotten some good stops from it - dws, htv, etc... I always verify the driver matches the IDACS/BMV physical description before making the stop so I can cover my bases on having some good pc.

    Never had a problem with the prosecutors and judges in our county but today I had a trial in a neighboring county (long story short- I was there as state's witness for a VOP). After exam and cross-exam, the judge started questioning me about the reason for the stop. He then allowed the defense attorney to pick up that line of attack with him asking me if I could tell what color eyes the driver had or exactly how tall and how much the driver weighed. The judge finally ended with a snide remark about that is the reason he stays out of my county. (The case ended up continued since he defense attorney said he needed more time to prepare - imagine that).

    Just wondering how many of you randomly run plates and what your courts think of a random plate as the basis for a stop. I don't plan on changing my practice since my home courts are good with it, but interested to hear what other experiences are.
    "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."
    John Adams, April 15, 1814

  • #2
    We call them "bingo stops." We have state case law that upholds them. In summary, the courts stated that unless there is evidence to the contrary, it is reasonable to believe a vehicle's registered owner is its driver.

    This jibes nicely with REASONABLE ARTICULABLE SUSPICION. Remember that probable cause is not the burden of proof needed to stop cars.
    All Gave Some - Some Gave All


    • #3
      "We call them "bingo stops." We have state case law that upholds them. In summary, the courts stated that unless there is evidence to the contrary, it is reasonable to believe a vehicle's registered owner is its driver."

      The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed.

      I Am the Sheepdog.

      "And maybe just remind the few, if ill of us they speak,
      that we are all that stands between
      the monsters and the weak." - Michael Marks



      • #4
        Fortunately for us, when we run plates, all of the RO's info comes up. The DL status, if they have warrants, and best of all there, there DL photo.

        I wouldn't change what you are doing....


        • #5
          When we run the plates, the only thing that pops up is the vehicle info, registered owner (which means nothing these days) and if the vehicle has current insurance information.

          I run plate all the time looking for expired registration or stolen hits. The only time a warrant comes back on a person is if an agency attaches the hit to the license plate and that in and of itself is rare.
          Moooooooooooo, I'm a goat


          • #6
            In addition to the registration info, when we run a plate we get:
            - NCIC hits on plate and owner
            - Maine Wanted hits on owner
            - Maine driver info on owner (and for some other states, hit or miss)
            - Bail condition hits on owner
            - Felon hit indicator on owner (helps with felon in possession of firearm)
            - all prior in-house contacts with owner

            So, in my state there are a TON of "bingo" stops that can be made just by running a plate.

            I'd LOVE to have the owner's picture sent too. We can search our CAD for arrest photos... but that's not the same.

            I'd also like to have insurance info on Maine registration replies, all prior agency contacts with the vehicle (not just the owner), and automatic license info on joint-owners.
            Last edited by Resq14; 03-04-2009, 03:50 PM.
            All Gave Some - Some Gave All


            • #7
              And we also receive information if the RO is a confirmed criminal gang member and if he/she is a registered sex offender. Also, if the RO has any protection orders against them. There have been several times I have arrested the RO because he was the respondant and the passenger was the petitioner on the order.
              Last edited by AR-15; 03-04-2009, 05:18 PM.


              • #8
                ... along with the others like missing/endangered, wanted, terrorist, federal parole, etc.. (I lump these under NCIC)

                I hate working when/if the system is down!

                I love stopping cars to do bail searches and chemical tests.
                Last edited by Resq14; 03-04-2009, 06:24 PM.
                All Gave Some - Some Gave All


                • #9
                  If your courts support it, then keep doing it. In my county, it doesn't fly. They want you to have PC for the stop.

                  I run every car I can. Many tags are suspended for insurance purporses or VEIP (our state emissions test program). If tags are suspended, its PC for the stop.....I get a ton of suspended and warrants this way.

                  If I run a tag and registered owner is suspended, I watch them like a hawk and wait for the stop.

                  Our agency has a tag reader (best tool ever) that can be set to show suspended drivers. We had officers driving this thing around and stopping based only on the registered owner was suspended. All of these cases are getting tossed out because the judges and SA's want PC for a stop...not just the RO is suspended.


                  • #10
                    Like the previous posters, I run a lot of plates too. There is no expectation of privacy with regards to vehicle plates when on the roadway. That being said I usually try to find some sort of violation just so I can say I had some legitimate reason other than just running everything. With our system when we run a plate we get vehicle registration, owners driving record, current driving status and any wants/warrants. We also get in-house contacts for that vehicle and registered owner. In addition to that, we can view our county jails book-in photos. If the registered owner has been arrested in my county I can view their photo, which comes in handy to verify who's driving.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by OWI Enforcer View Post
                      That being said I usually try to find some sort of violation just so I can say I had some legitimate reason other than just running everything.
                      Ditto, it only makes life easier.

                      Originally posted by Taylor1430 View Post
                      Our agency has a tag reader (best tool ever) that can be set to show suspended drivers
                      And I'd do some naughty things for an ALPRS!
                      Last edited by Resq14; 03-04-2009, 07:34 PM.
                      All Gave Some - Some Gave All


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by biggesto View Post
                        How often do you randomly run plates while driving down the road?
                        Why, never; that would be unsafe...

                        Okay, are we sure my supervisors aren't watching? Good...

                        Heck yeah! Around here we call them random registration checks. The initial check has been upheld as OK because the plate is considered public information, since it's placed on the exterior of the vehicle.

                        About 3-4 years ago, our DOT started attaching DOB info the the registered owner on registration records. That opened up the possibility of running registered owners as well. A couple of years ago the state supreme court ruled that use of the information to affect a stop was valid, as long as you can reasonably articulate that the drive met the basic description from the DOT record (i.e. sex and race, at least, had to match up).

                        I would love it if our registration checks automatically pulled up the registered owner's DL status/history; it would save me a lot of time. But I've heard that there is some statute preventing the automatic checking of DOT records. In other words, a human operator needs to enter the data in to request a check. That's the reason I've heard our state doesn't have the plate-reading technology yet.


                        • #13
                          Washington State says plates are made to be ran. As far as traffic off of them, if there is a drivers license number attached to the registration, or you can locate a matching name with a date of birth under locals and get a drivers return/warrant return that way.

                          They want you to have PC for the stop.
                          On these returns you can get a general description of height/weight and a gender. If you can get a look good enough to say the driver appears to fit that general description (and he has warrants/suspended license) we call that PC, game on.
                          "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." George Orwell


                          • #14
                            I couldn't run bingo stops, unless I wanted to PO my dispatchers. Our dispatch has to run all our info through TLETS. I'm hoping one day I will be a city officer. The campus cop life is a bit different at times.

                            Just be safe when you stop these people as it seems more and more are claming these stops are based on profiling . What ever .
                            My life is in GOD’s hands, and he hasn’t finished with me yet.


                            • #15
                              My favorite stops are from running plates. I love to see a misused plate or. even better, an expired plate that has stolen stickers over the old ones. I don't understand what the color of the driver's eyes has to do with it, unless you are trying to match a revoked license with a driver. Our DMV doesn't list driver license status on the plates so we don't have that issue.
                              I do make an attempt to run plates of all makes, all models, and both new cars and junker cars. I don't want anyone to accuse me of targeting a specific vehicle type, driver type, or economic class.
                              I have the heart of a child..................................No really, it is in a jar on my desk.


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