Detroit Lawyers Discuss Traffic Stops:
When Can the Police Pull Me Over?
In Michigan, a police officer must have “probable cause” to pull you over in a traffic stop. This means that an officer must have a valid and reasonable suspicion that the car or one of its occupants is in violation of the law.
As long as the police have a valid reason for the traffic stop, they can charge you with other crimes even if they had no “probable cause” to pull you over for the crime you are eventually charged with. For example, an officer can pull you over for a broken tail light and then arrest you for an OWI or drug possession.
In other words, an officer is not required to issue a ticket or arrest you for the violation that justified the original traffic stop. For example, you may be pulled over for speeding, or an illegal U-turn, and end up with an OWI.
It’s also allowed for a police officer to run a license plate check on a vehicle without probable cause. And if the car is registered to someone with a warrant or a suspended license – now the police do have probable cause to make a legal stop. So if you’re driving someone else’s car, and they have a warrant or suspended license, this traffic stop would be valid, even if you yourself have a valid license and no warrants.
Keep in mind that resisting the officer who is issuing the ticket or arrest is not allowed – even if you believe that the officer did not have probable cause to pull you over. The time to challenge probable cause is in court, not at the time of the arrest. Failure to cooperate, leaving the scene, or using physical force can result in additional charges such as resisting arrest or fleeing and eluding.
Fighting Improper Traffic Stops in Detroit
The good news – if you were stopped in the Detroit area – is that the standard for probable cause is not subjective. The officer who pulled you over cannot go outside the bounds of what is reasonable for the situation.
If the police office did not have a reasonable reason to pull you over, your traffic lawyer may be able to challenge the traffic stop. If the judge determines that the officer did not have “probable cause” to make the stop, the arrest may be considered “unconstitutional”. This can mean that a good traffic lawyer may be able to file a motion to get the evidence suppressed, and possibly get your ticket or charge dismissed.
An experienced traffic lawyer can examine the circumstances behind your traffic stop, and determine if there may be grounds to challenge it for a lack of probable cause.
Our Detroit Traffic Lawyers Can Help
If you received a ticket or were arrested during a Detroit area traffic stop, your next step should be to talk to an experienced Detroit area traffic lawyer. Any improper or illegal behavior by a police officer during a traffic stop can be used by your traffic attorney to have the evidence “suppressed” and they may be able to get your charges dropped or reduced.
We have helped hundreds of Detroit area residents fight illegal or improper traffic stops. Our Detroit area traffic lawyers are committed to offering you the most effective representation in your traffic ticket case, at the most affordable prices, and your first consultation is always FREE. Call us today.