Can you be stopped for no reason at all? 25 Answers as of February 15, 2013

I was stopped and I ask why I was stopped. He said to get out of your car and he searched me. He found drugs. I never got a reason I was stopped. No traffic ticket. No reason he could give me at all. I was only charged with drug related charges.

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The Law Offices of John J. Carney Esq.
The Law Offices of John J. Carney Esq. | John J. Carney
The search was illegal unless they had probable cause to arrest or search. If you consented they would not need probable cause. Retain a good criminal lawyer to handle the case or have Legal Aid handle it if you are indigent, but you are not able to make a good assessment of the legality of the search.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/15/2013
Law Office of Michael E. Dailey
Law Office of Michael E. Dailey | Michael E. Dailey
Since you were stopped and searched, obviously you can be stopped even though the procedure may be improper and can result in a suppression of anything found. The issue is "can" vs. "are they legally authorized" to initiate that kind of stop. Not being charged with a traffic offense does not automatically mean there was no reasonable suspicion to trigger the stop. Discuss this with a lawyer who can obtain the police reports to make the determination.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 2/14/2013
Giannini Law Office, PC
Giannini Law Office, PC | Robert Giannini
As you describe the encounter, it certainly sounds like an unlawful detention, search and arrest. Get a good criminal defense lawyer in your area.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 2/14/2013
Steven Dodge | Steven Dodge
There is no legal stop unless that stop is supported by probable cause. If the court rules that there was no probable cause, you would be entitled to have all the evidence suppressed.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/14/2013
Rizio & Nelson
Rizio & Nelson | John W. Bussman
I'd need a lot more info to answer that. Of course, I have no idea what the cop put into his report. Are you currently on probation or parole? If so, you have no right to privacy and you can be stopped and searched at any time, with or without a reason.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/13/2013
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    You can be stopped for no reason at all. You can even have a pretextual stop.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Kenyon Law Firm
    Kenyon Law Firm | Todd Kenyon
    No, the police cannot stop you unless a police officer has reasonable articuable suspicion to suspect a crime is being committed. If the officer randomly stopped you could challenge the stop in court.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    William L. Welch, III Attorney | William L. Welch, III
    Nothing requires police to explain themselves to you. However if you have been charged with a crime and evidence was seized from you or you made a statement that the state intends to use against you, then you might be able to challenge the admission of that evidence at trial. During that hearing the state will have to justify the officers actions, and it might become apparent then whether the police had probable cause to do what they did.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Kelly & Soto Law
    Kelly & Soto Law | Michael Kelly
    No. You cant be stopped for no reason at all, but there are a multitude of traffic violations that you may be stopped for that many people probably dont even know of. More importantly for your situation, however, is whether the officer conducted a legal search. In the absence of a warrant, certain circumstances must exist to support an officer's search of an individual. Looking at the police report would help me in providing you answers to your question. From what you have told me, there is at least a chance the drugs could be suppressed and you could avoid the possession charge.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    The Law Offices of Seth D. Schraier
    The Law Offices of Seth D. Schraier | Seth D. Schraier
    You can only be stopped for probable cause by a police officer. This can be as small as not making a full and complete stop at a stop sign or the police officer suspecting that because of the way you were driving that you were under the influence. In any situation, if you and your attorney challenge the basis for the stop by the police officer, the prosecution and police officer must testify to the basis that led to the stop and subsequent search.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Law Offices of Jonathan Mincis | Jonathan J. Mincis, Esq.,
    The stop may be questionable. I would need to see the police report to see what the officer says as to why he made the stop. Did you consent to the search? Legally police are permitted to pat a potential suspect down if they believe that they may be carrying weapons for their safety. However the issue here is whether or not the stop was legal. You would need to challenge the stop by filing a Motion to suppress the drugs based on the argument that the stop was unconstitutional.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky | Michael Brodsky
    For a traffic stop to be constitutional the officer must have probable cause to believe a person has violated the traffic code or committed a crime. Probable cause exists where the facts and circumstances within the arresting officer's knowledge are sufficient to warrant a person of reasonable caution to believe that an offense has been committed. My guess is the officer had a reason (or at least thinks he did or says he did) but just didnt think he had to explain it to you. If there wasn't a sufficient basis for the stop, than any evidence, including the drugs found, should be suppressed and the case dismissed. Even if the stop was good, that doesnt mean he gets to search you or your car. You should absolutely consult an experienced criminal defense attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Did you have proper identification and registration and proof of insurance to present the officer? Was there a minor traffic violation mentioned for which the officer decided not to issue you a citation? If no, and you gave the identification, I see no reason for the stop. You should hire counsel and file a Motion to Suppress the Evidence. It should be granted and the case dropped.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    The police have to have and be able to articulate "reasonable suspicion" to pull your vehicle over. It is a lower standard than probable cause which is the standard for most searches and arrests. Anything from going a mile over the speed limit or any violation of the motor vehicle code will do. The police have to have a reason, but they don't necessarily have to give you that reason on the spot, although they often do. The reason will have to be contained in the police report or else the officer will have to testify in court as to what the reason for the stop is. The police can order the driver or any passenger out of the car on any traffic stop without having a reason. To search you, they would need your permission, probable cause, a warrant, or a valid exception to the warrant requirement. An experienced criminal lawyer should be able to review the police reports, any cruiser cam videos, and any other evidence in your case file to determine if there are any Constitutional grounds to challenge the stop, search, and arrest. Don't plea to anything or agree to anything without first consulting with a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    The Rogers Law Firm
    The Rogers Law Firm | Andrea Storey Rogers
    Police officers dont have to tell you why theyre stopping you. If you hire an attorney to represent you, the attorney can request a copy of the police report and it will state why the police officer pulled you over. The reason could be something like a failure to signal a turn, or he saw your car weaving.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    I imagine that by the time you get to court the police report will have a valid reason for the stop. However, to answer your question, no, the police cannot stop you for no reason. The only exception is a road block where they are stopping all cars for sobriety checks. You should have an attorney who should challenge that stop.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    There must be a reasonable suspicion for the stop. You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    No they need a reason to stop you. Get a lawyer and fight the matter.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    All an officer needs is probable cause, which can be most anything. Defective equipment on your car, dark tinted windows beyond what the law allows, erratic driving, driving to slow, outstanding warrants, a tip from somebody/informant, almost anything.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Henry Lebensbaum | Henry Lebensbaum
    Technically, no.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    This might be a defense. You will need a good attorney,
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    They have to have a valid reason to stop you.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Law Office of Jared C. Winter
    Law Office of Jared C. Winter | Jared C. Winter
    You cannot be stopped without a reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime of some sort. The only exception to this rule is for people who are on probation or parole. The officer would have to somehow know that you are on probation or parole before he could make the stop. You need an attorney. If you cant afford to hire one, go to your court date and ask the court to appoint the public defender.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Natty Shafer Law
    Natty Shafer Law | Nathaniel Shafer
    No, an officer needs a reason to stop you. Hire a lawyer and file a motion to suppress the evidence. Depending on what the officer wrote in his police report for why he stopped you, you could win.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 2/13/2013
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