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Liability after the stop

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  • Liability after the stop

    Is there any case law regarding the liability after issuing a citation, say for insurance or suspended license?

    I seem to recall a case which said there is no liability after the stop and that any further action by the suspect is a new and seperate offense.

    A department around here has started towing EVERY suspended license, and every no insurance because they feel theyare liable if that person decides to drive off.

    With that mentality, you would be forced to tow every brake light, tail light, head light, etc... violation

  • #2
    Originally posted by TJx2 View Post
    With that mentality, you would be forced to tow every brake light, tail light, head light, etc... violation
    No, unless your state law specifically authorizes impounding a vehicle with minor equipment defects.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Seventy2002 View Post
      No, unless your state law specifically authorizes impounding a vehicle with minor equipment defects.
      It doesn't say anything about which vehicles should be impounded, other then "may tow" for no insurance.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by TJx2 View Post
        Is there any case law regarding the liability after issuing a citation, say for insurance or suspended license?

        I seem to recall a case which said there is no liability after the stop and that any further action by the suspect is a new and seperate offense.

        A department around here has started towing EVERY suspended license, and every no insurance because they feel theyare liable if that person decides to drive off.

        With that mentality, you would be forced to tow every brake light, tail light, head light, etc... violation
        There is a vast difference between equipment citations and suspended license/no insurance

        I really think the agency you are talking about is using faulty reasoning about liability.................but towing for suspended license and/or no insurance is done in many jurisdictions because the vehicle is not driveable without a licensed driver or insurance.
        My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

        (F*** Off Cuz Ur Stupid)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
          towing for suspended license and/or no insurance is done in many jurisdictions because the vehicle is not driveable without a licensed driver or insurance.
          Exactly. Allowing a violator to continue on is viewed as approval by the officer to immediately break the law again. We'd never allow an intoxicated driver to drive off and it really is not a far stretch to compare a DUI to an unlicensed driver, or a vehicle not covered by the required proof of financial responsibility. Our laws state a driver may not drive and a vehicle may not be operated under those conditions.
          Last edited by delzo70; 06-23-2016, 08:05 AM.
          If your biggest work-related fear is getting a paper cut, don't try and tell a cop how to do his job.

          Comment


          • #6
            Of course one aspect to keep in mind is who the owner of the vehicle is. If the driver, who is suspended, is not the owner, attempts to contact the owner should be made prior to towing the vehicle. It is possible for the owner to not be aware the person driving their car had their license suspended. It shows a good faith effort as part of agency procedure to give them a chance to retrieve their vehicle without having to pay the tow fees. The officer also needs to confirm with the INSURANCE COMPANY if an insurance stop shows on DCI. In my State, laps in payment will create an insurance stop, but payment the next day won't automatically reinstate it nor will changes the motorist makes in insurance companies. You could cite a motorist for an offense that is not in effect if not careful.

            Another reason I don't sweat towing vehicles should the driver be the owner is the expected outcome in Court. They don't seem to care too much about how the case is adjudicated and usually give the most benefit toward their outcome anyway. I think the Court's mindset is to allow the person to get their license restored as soon as possible. So, I tell them they can't drive and if I catch them driving away, then they could get arrested. So, in the end, I enforced the law by issuing a citation and ordering them not to put the car back on the highway and didn't get tied up in jail for two hours over a small traffic offense.

            Delzo, I am not contradicting you in this post overall. I don't necessarily equate a DWI and DWLR as the same though. People get their license suspended for listening to their lawyer about not appearing to Court for a minor traffic offense and get their license suspended on occasion. But, the ones who are chronically suspended are another breed. I have arrested my share of DWLRs, but it was either due to many prior FTAs or just cause I wanted to.

            Regarding the OP, I haven't heard about continuing liability on the agency's part. If an unlicensed driver continued on their way even though they were told not to and liability attached because the car was not towed, could the same liability attach to a speeder who was told not to speed anymore and they sped again and got into a crash?
            Last edited by DeaconSteve; 06-23-2016, 09:40 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by DeaconSteve View Post
              Delzo, I am not contradicting you in this post overall. I don't necessarily equate a DWI and DWLR as the same though. People get their license suspended for listening to their lawyer about not appearing to Court for a minor traffic offense and get their license suspended on occasion. But, the ones who are chronically suspended are another breed. I have arrested my share of DWLRs, but it was either due to many prior FTAs or just cause I wanted to.
              Oh sure, there are a hundred things could enter into the scenario that would change the procedure. I was just loosely conveying what I saw more than anything in my part of the country, before I retired. More so now than then, a huge part of our population are illegals from south of our border. They could care less if they have a drivers license and insurance and we officers took issue with our department saying we were to cite for violations and drive off....... knowing full well they continued on their way without giving it a second thought.

              Most departments in this end of the country tow the vehicle now and jail the offender. The problem in the last few years is what to do with the other occupants. Because immigration status is only a problem for serious criminals, the burning issue is do you just leave a wife and kids standing on the side of the road or what? If they have no one to call to come get them, you just created another liability problem.

              Maybe our next administration will fix it for us!
              If your biggest work-related fear is getting a paper cut, don't try and tell a cop how to do his job.

              Comment


              • #8
                In Arizona, if you drive with a suspended/revoked/no license status, statute states I shall tow the vehicle and the vehicle is also held for 30 days. I always write no proof of financial responsibility citations, covers my *** if they drive down the road and get in an accident.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by delzo70 View Post
                  . Our laws state a driver may not drive and a vehicle may not be operated under those conditions.
                  Yep................same here and reason enough to tow.

                  That doesn't mean you can't allow someone else who is licensed to drive it away............and in most cases in Iowa any DRIVER is insured to drive almost any car he has permission to drive (as long as he/she has insurance on any vehicle) so an uninsured driver can get someone else to drive the car away............IF the officer chooses to allow it
                  My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                  (F*** Off Cuz Ur Stupid)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    AZ must be a little more radical with unlicensed drivers compared to other states. Even if another licensed driver is in the vehicle, it still gets towed and held 30 days.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I was working a minor MVA and came to find out that one of the drivers was suspended for a prior drug offense. He was very respectful throughout the interaction, so I let him call a friend to come get the car since I was still doing paperwork and would be there for a few minutes regardless. The friend shows up and I run his info and guess what? Suspended for failing to pay traffic tickets. The third attempt at a driver was also suspended but thankfully another person who was now on scene was licensed and drove the car away. Moral of the story: Unless there is another licensed driver on scene, the car gets towed.

                      Comment

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