It’s fairly easy to get pulled over while you’re driving. Below is a list of reasons, compiled from my years practicing criminal defense, discussions with police officers and agencies, and sources such as The National Motorists Association.
- Driving significantly faster (or slower) than the traffic around you.
- Out-of-date license tags and inspection stickers.
- Speeding at night, especially after midnight.
- Speeding in a radar-enforced area.
- Weaving from your lane into another.
- Failing to use your turn signal.
- Faulty equipment, such as brake lights, tail lights, license plate lights.
- In some states, both the front and back license plates must be affixed (this holds true in Colorado)
- Dark window tints, jacked-up suspension system.
- Illegal cell phone use (more than 30 states have banned texting while driving).
While the Fourth Amendment usually protects against unlawful searches, certain exceptions have been made out of concern for public safety, such as:
Amber Alert: Law enforcement has the right to pull you over and search your car for a missing child during an Amber Alert, which law enforcement issues when they determine that a child has been abducted, and the abduction meets Amber Alert criteria.
Mistaken Identity: If a car just involved in a hit-and-run meets your car description, the police can stop you to examine your vehicle for damage consistent with involvement in a hit-and-run.
Keep in mind that even if you’re pulled over for a minor traffic issue, the stop can result in a driving under the influence (DUI) arrest if your actions make the officer suspect that you’re driving:
- While intoxicated
- Under the influence of or possession of controlled substances.
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