Any time police pull you over while driving, there is a chance you could wind up facing consequences. They could range from a fine and traffic ticket to an arrest and conviction on drug-related charges. Whatever the outcome may be, it has the potential to upset your life.
Considering the toll a stop can take on a driver, police must conduct stops properly. However, this does not always happen. Officers can and do make mistakes when they make a traffic stop, and these mistakes could call any resulting charges into question.
Traffic stop mistakes by police
- Making an improper stop – Police who pull over a driver for no reason can be violating that driver’s rights. For a stop to be lawful, an officer must have a reasonable, articulable suspicion that the motorist is committing or has committed a crime. That said, numerous trivial offenses could support a stop, from failing to signal to having a cracked windshield
- Detaining drivers unreasonably long – A typical traffic stop should take only as long as is reasonably necessary to investigate the reason behind the stop. If police prolong the stop without cause, it could constitute unreasonable detention.
- Conducting an illegal search – Police must have a warrant to search your car during a traffic stop. However, they can perform a legal warrantless search under a few circumstances: if you give them permission to search, if the officer sees evidence of criminal activity in plain view or if there is probable cause of further wrongdoing.
- Failing to administer sobriety tests correctly – Police have strict rules for administering sobriety tests, from the language they must use to the process they must follow. Failure to comply with any of these rules can be grounds for contesting DUI charges.
What happens when the police make mistakes?
If these or any other mistakes occur in the course of a traffic stop, it can be possible to challenge any evidence against you and charges that may have been brought as a result of the mistake.
Considering how quickly a traffic stop can turn into serious criminal charges, it is vital to scrutinize the details of a stop and move to set aside any unlawful elements.