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  • Probable cause for a search?

    I was pulled over for doing 5 over in a construction zone in the state of MI where I live. I was heading to PA for work and about 3 hours from home.

    The officer asked for my liscense and registration which I gave him. Both had expired 12 days previous on my birthday unbeknown to me. I just simply forgot to renew them and didn't even think about it until the officer again asked if I had a valid drivers liscense.

    The officer was rough with me as he searched me kicking my ankles out farther, put me in the back of his cruiser, and searched thru my car, suit case and tool bags. He didn't find anything as there was nothing to find. He cited me for a misdemeanor, 2 civil infractions, impounded my car and gave me a ride to the nearest exit.

    I was polite and obviously surprised that my liscense was expired. I have a clean driving record with no violations and don't drink or use drugs. I understand why he had my car towed because I couldn't drive without a valid liscense, but I don't understand why he searched my car and treated me like a criminal.

    Did he search the car because it was being impounded or is this standard protocol for any of the above violations?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Originally posted by justme1time View Post
    I was pulled over for doing 5 over in a construction zone in the state of MI where I live. I was heading to PA for work and about 3 hours from home.

    The officer asked for my liscense and registration which I gave him. Both had expired 12 days previous on my birthday unbeknown to me. I just simply forgot to renew them and didn't even think about it until the officer again asked if I had a valid drivers liscense.

    The officer was rough with me as he searched me kicking my ankles out farther, put me in the back of his cruiser, and searched thru my car, suit case and tool bags. He didn't find anything as there was nothing to find. He cited me for a misdemeanor, 2 civil infractions, impounded my car and gave me a ride to the nearest exit.

    I was polite and obviously surprised that my liscense was expired. I have a clean driving record with no violations and don't drink or use drugs. I understand why he had my car towed because I couldn't drive without a valid liscense, but I don't understand why he searched my car and treated me like a criminal.

    Did he search the car because it was being impounded or is this standard protocol for any of the above violations?

    Thanks!
    Because you committed a crime and were arrested for it. The search was incident to your arrest.

    Comment


    • #3
      Ah, but he didn't arrest him, so that doesn't work. He dropped him off at the nearest exit.

      He is, however, allowed to inventory search prior to tow. But if you're being completely truthful about the circumstances, he sounds like a jerk.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by ofc129a View Post
        Ah, but he didn't arrest him, so that doesn't work. He dropped him off at the nearest exit.

        He is, however, allowed to inventory search prior to tow. But if you're being completely truthful about the circumstances, he sounds like a jerk.
        Um read the post again. He was arrested for a misdemeanor and released. There is still an arrest there bud.

        See this part of the OP's post:
        "The officer was rough with me as he searched me kicking my ankles out farther, put me in the back of his cruiser, and searched thru my car, suit case and tool bags. He didn't find anything as there was nothing to find. He cited me for a misdemeanor, 2 civil infractions, impounded my car and gave me a ride to the nearest exit."

        That is still an arrest regardless of a jail booking or not.

        Comment


        • #5
          Yes, I have been totally honest in my description of the events. It wasn't an inventory search as he allowed me to take my suit case and tool bags with me.

          If he arrested me he never read me my rights or put hand cuffs on me. I have never been arrested before so I don't know how that works.

          Is the misdemeanor of the expired drivers liscense a serious enough offense that I should retain an attourney or will it be just fines and points? I renewed my drivers liscense and vehicle registration that same day.

          Thanks for your input.

          Comment


          • #6
            You DO NOT HAVE A RIGHT TO BE READ MIRANDA JUST BECAUSE YOUR ARRESTED.

            However if you are questioned about a crime to which you are accused while in custody than yes you are privy to have your rights read to you
            The greatest misconception in police work that gets more officers killed is alot of cops are still taught to use the "minimum force necessary". In reality a true professional will always resort to the "Maximum Allowable Force" to resolve a situation. They mean the same thing, however one is a restriction and the other is an empowerment.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ofc129a View Post
              Ah, but he didn't arrest him, so that doesn't work. He dropped him off at the nearest exit.

              He is, however, allowed to inventory search prior to tow. But if you're being completely truthful about the circumstances, he sounds like a jerk.
              according to the original post, he was arrested for misdemeanor expired dl and released on a nta (ror or whatever they call it in that area). you cant do that in north carolina? that seems like a waste of time to take everybody to the jail. he searched the vehicle inident to arrest and for inventory of items he wasnt taking with him.

              if you are arrested there is nothing that requires you be read miranda and nothing that requires you be handcuffed or even put in the back of a patrol car.
              Last edited by luckydog; 09-07-2008, 08:56 PM.

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              • #8
                The search is legal. Pretty rarely go full custody on a misdimeanor traffic arrest (unless of course it's DUI, or suspended license because of DUI, or they've had a previous fail to appear warrant). However, I do ALWAYS search the car. People get confused sometimes with search incident to arrest. The search incident to arrest can happen as soon as I have probable cause and have decided to arrest you, rather that be let you go with a misdemeanor court date or actually take you to jail.

                Some say that you can search incident to arrest (aka have probable cause to arrest), then decide not to arrest after the search... but I'm not too comfortable with that... unless someone has some good case law saying we can.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The cop was splitting hairs and playing dirty, sorry.

                  If he had cited him first, that search would have been unlawful. So instead, he "arrests" him by putting him in the back of his car unrestrained, searches the vehicle, and then cites the kid when he doesn't find anything.

                  What StudChris brought up is exactly what that officer did. And it will bite him on the a*$ one day. I wonder if he puts people he has every intention of transporting in the back of his car without being cuffed..I doubt it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by luckydog View Post
                    according to the original post, he was arrested for misdemeanor expired dl and released on a nta (ror or whatever they call it in that area). you cant do that in north carolina? that seems like a waste of time to take everybody to the jail. he searched the vehicle inident to arrest and for inventory of items he wasnt taking with him.

                    if you are arrested there is nothing that requires you be read miranda and nothing that requires you be handcuffed or even put in the back of a patrol car.
                    Actually, we can't do that in North Carolina. In NC both expired registration and expired/no driver's license are misdemeanors. Therefore, they are arrestable, but if we decide to arrest rather than cite, we are required to transport the arrestee and take him before the magistrate to determine his bond conditions.

                    We cannot arrest and then release the arrestee on a citation. We have the option to cite and release for misdemeanors, but we cannot search incident to citation.
                    -Landric

                    "The Engine could still smile...it seemed to scare them"-Felix

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Sounds like he's playing a bit of dirty pool.


                      He can probably articulate an "inventory search" of the vehicle since he towed it, and a search of the person since he's transporting him for officer safety. But the search of the person would have to be along the lines of a consent search. In MD unless you actually ARREST the person you dont have SEARCH INCIDENT TO ARREST and the petty traffic charges he has arent ARRESTABLE.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sounds like he was an interdiction officer who felt that you had a sketchy story (nervous/change of story etc.) and didn't have enough PC to enter the car so he "inventoried" it before the tow. I assume since you were traveling to another state you were on an Interstate or major highway which are known for trafficking currency or drugs. I don't know you or your car but you may have been stereotyped by either of those two things.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Landric View Post
                          Actually, we can't do that in North Carolina. In NC both expired registration and expired/no driver's license are misdemeanors. Therefore, they are arrestable, but if we decide to arrest rather than cite, we are required to transport the arrestee and take him before the magistrate to determine his bond conditions.

                          We cannot arrest and then release the arrestee on a citation. We have the option to cite and release for misdemeanors, but we cannot search incident to citation.
                          here in florida expired dl is not criminal until 4 months after the expiration date and for the registration to be criminal it has to be the 2nd offense of you driving with it expired more than 6 months.

                          we can arrest and take you to jail for a crime and then set your bond up to a certain amount that is listed for each crime in the bond schedule. we can set your bond at less or more than is listed in the schedule, or none at all, but would have the slight possibility of being called to first appearance in the morning if we do more or no bond.

                          we can also release you on your own recognizance after you promise to appear in court, which is what it sounds like this officer did. the offender actually got arrested and now has an arrest record and will probably end up with a criminal conviction. we do this for misdemeanor things like marijuana, misdemeanor traffic (wouldn’t fly for felony traffic), paraphernalia, alcohol and tobacco related crimes, open house party, ect… we do not have to bring everybody we arrest to jail or before a magistrate. you are released on your own recognizance or taken to the jail where we set your bond. you can then bond out (if possible) or see a judge at first appearance in the morning. the judge can the raise or lower your bond amount, set a bond if we no bonded you, or hold you on no bond.

                          from his story and the way things work in florida, i would say the search incident to arrest was valid as was inventory of the vehicle prior to it being towed.
                          Last edited by luckydog; 09-08-2008, 01:56 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ofc129a View Post
                            The cop was splitting hairs and playing dirty, sorry.

                            If he had cited him first, that search would have been unlawful. So instead, he "arrests" him by putting him in the back of his car unrestrained, searches the vehicle, and then cites the kid when he doesn't find anything.

                            What StudChris brought up is exactly what that officer did. And it will bite him on the a*$ one day. I wonder if he puts people he has every intention of transporting in the back of his car without being cuffed..I doubt it.
                            I do not consider this "playing dirty." There have been several occasions where we arrest and then make a determination whether the individual qualifies for a state misdemeanor citation or not. The search incident to arrest, is just that, incident to arrest. Now if the officer wrote out a state citation and then started diggin just before he cut him loose, I would have an issue with it.
                            I'm 10-8 like a shark in a sea of crime..

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Playing dirty? Really?

                              Inventory of a vehicle to be towed is typically mandatory because of case law that prohibits pick-n-choose inventories. My department policy, and probably yours, says you must verify the car has no hazardous items inside, document any existing damage, valuables, presence of keys, etc.

                              If you're on the Interstate, you can't be left on foot since pedestrians aren't allowed. Anyone who goes in the car will be patted down for weapons for officer safety.

                              There's nothing dirty about any of that, and failure to do any of the above is a violation of common sense and (probably) department policy.
                              I miss you, Dave.
                              http://www.odmp.org/officer/20669-of...david-s.-moore

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