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So is this legal, I got pulled over

  • 4 am a couple of nights ago. I recently bid and landed some cleaning contracts with local businesses. The kind of deal where you go in after hours work an hour or so and charge 40-50 bucks a night. Pretty sweet. Anyway. Im leaving one of the establishments and about a mile away a cop jumps up on my bumper. Im not speeding, no lights out...nothing Im doing says pull me over. The cruiser back off me (running my plates) then a few seconds later comes flying up on my ass and hits his lights.

    NOw, Im in a new vehicle (new to me) that were buying from a friend. We just got this thing and they havent been able to set up a time to go to the clerk to sign it over so its not in my name. I cant find a registration, insurance...nothing. They tell me dont worry about it, keep looking were going to run your license and will be back. I come back clean. I end up out of the car, searched, they search the van. All clean.

    Turns out the guy Im buying it from has a felony from years ago. When they ran the plates it comes back under his name and lists he is a felon and BOOM they pull me over. They actually admitted thats the ONLY reason they pulled me over. Now Im not looking to sue or anything, hell it didnt even really bother me it just cost me a half hour at 4 am when I was trying to get home and get some sleep. I didnt think you could just be pulled over because. Isnt that profiling. This guy is a felon and he is out at 4 am so we gotta pull him over, search him and his car etc.

    I was very cordial with the officers and they were cordial in return. I know the guy is a felon but it was for something really stupid many years ago (he didnt even serve time for it). He told me he has had that happen to him before. I cant see how its legal to pull someone over and state you saw them leaving a business after hours and were suspicious. The thing is I know they didnt see me leaving a business they were way too far away and coming right at me when I hit Preston highway. They took the info I gave them which was "going home from cleaning a business up here" and used that for their reasoning.

    Oh and I wasnt cited for anything. I couldnt provide them with an insurance card or the registration. They told me to have a nice night and that I may get pulled over again by different officers in the area.

    This post was edited by RickPetrino 18 months ago

  • Years ago my wife and I cleaned more commercially (now primarily residential), and we would get pulled over at times late at night/ early morning just because. Didn't get searched or anything, but they'd see us driving away from office complexes or banks and be curious. No clue as to legalities, just know it happened.

    By the way, congrats on the cleaning gigs. Hit me up if you have any questions. I hope it goes well.

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  • Is what legal? For them to pull you over when they run plates and it comes back with a felon as the registrant?

    By the way, you mention Preston Hwy. City Police or Audubon Park Police?

  • I am not sure but I would think that they have the right to pull over a car if they think there is something fishy about the car.

    You said the guy is a felon and not sure what he has done but it could be the cop or someone else drove by the business and reported it did not look normal. They wanted to check it out. It came back belonging to a felon (even if you have paid for it if the clerk does not have it down the sale did not happen) You are lucky he could have given you a ticket for the ins and registration. those are simple show proof and dismissal but it is a hassle.

    I used to have a car paper route, the first few days I had this cop follow me from one section of road for about a mile then turn off. He stopped me once and said I did not come to a complete stop. wrote me a ticket. a few days later a second ticket and then the next day another. I was young but I went to court they dismissed them and the judge told me I should look at going a different direction. He said any officer can stop you if they feel something is wrong.

  • It wasnt Louisvillle or Audobon police I live much further out Preston (Bullitt). Just wondering if you can be pulled over because they run the plate and it comes back registered to a felon. Im not going into too much detail as I dont want to put info out there about my friend, the cops etc. As mentioned I really didnt care about the whole thing but it got me to thinking. They can just run your plates and pull you over because it comes back as owned by a registered felon? I was always under the impression that you had to have probable cause to make a stop. I see no probable cause there. IF they really did see me pulling out of the business I could see it but as mentioned there was no way they saw me they just picked up on what I said and used it when it turned out I was clean.

    Again, the guys were cool. I had no issues but I thought about how much it must suck to be pulled over...just because. I mean I went through it as a teen but I was long haired and drove a blacked out black truck (heavy tint, souped up etc). I expected it back then.

  • Probable cause is one of those terms that's vague for a reason...could be different for each person. Someone being in a certain area, leaving a businesses or something at 4am could very well be probable cause. Maybe they suspected you burglarized the place, or were buying/selling drugs. You never know.

    Once they realized nothing wad going on, they let you go, even if they searched you, that's pretty good that they let you go.

    Might be a bit inconvenient, but from what I see, not really illegal.

  • I don't know if it's legal or not, but I sure hope the Police do it to felons they see in my neighborhood.

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  • I would rather the cops err on the side of caution and pull that person over if they saw something they deemed abnormal (leaving an office at 4am) AND the tags were that of a felon. Perhaps it's additional incentive to get the car registered now, knowing that you're going to stand out a little with where you're at and the time you're there.

    At least they weren't difficult once they pulled you over. I've had some good interactions with cops, but mostly poor. My brother in-law is a cop near Newark, NJ and he tells me that he's caught at least 7-8 people in 2012 just based on pulling over people on probable cause. Of course, driving anywhere in Newark is likely to be probable cause for suspicious activity.

  • My wife got 2 tickets within a week not long ago. Leaving work late at night 1AM or so, she rolled through a stop and failure to use turn signal when changing lanes. She never saw either cop, has no idea where they even came from. She said she went through the stop so slow that she didn't even realize she didn't really come to a stop. The changing lane thing was on a road that she didn't see a car from either direction in front or behind her, she always does use it, but this once she didn't. I could see if the cop was just checking to make sure it was not someone drinking and driving, but he gave her a ticket. How many times a day do you see people blow through stop signs, with no intention of stopping? Or fly through red lights? It cost us over $400 for two stupid little things, that should probably have just got a warning.

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  • Yes it legal. Officers only have to have reasonable suspicion to pull over a vehicle which is less criteria than probable cause. After a vehicle is pulled over they would need probable cause to search unless verbal/ written consent was given. As far as why the officer did what he did who knows. Maybe they have had a recent increase in burglaries in the area which if it is the case then that would be reasonable enough. If I were you I would immediately transfer the vehicle into your name as soon as possible. I hope this helps.

  • This is the part that I was wondering about myself. Had it been me, I would not have granted them permission to search the vehicle but I'm wondering how that would actually work out considering that the vehicle is/was registered in another persons name.

  • Lets say you borrow a friends car and get pulled over and an officer request to search. You have to right to refuse a search of the vehicle. However, if the officer sees something illegal such as drugs in plain sight he/she can search the vehicle without consent or search warrant. So it doesnt matter who the vehicle is registered to. If you are driving a friends car and get pulled over with illegal items in the vehicle then you would be charged. So be careful of who's vehicle you borrow.

  • I sure hope it's legal to pull over what is thought to be a known felon at 4 am.

    I assure you that I mean no offense to the OP, but it sounds like more PC crap. Don't want to step on a felon's rights at 4 am!


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  • "Insufficiently illuminated license plate."

  • Im not in disagreement. But I was looking more at the situation. Im doing 53 in a 55, all lights and signals working. I tell them Im coming from work, where its at and show them my badge I use to enter and exit premises. They admit the only reason they pulled me over is it came back to a registered felon. Granted he is a felon but in this case had I been him and he been doing the same thing I was doing isnt this basically harassing behavior?

    I spoke with him today and he said he could care less if I shared the story. When we were younger we were roughnecks and he was the roughest of our group (and he had the physique for it dude was a tank). His younger sister was dating a guy that was abusing her. He has warned the guy repeatedly and the guy always challenged him and told him to mind hi sown business. Well... She came home one night with a cigarette burn on her neck and at that point I think it was the last straw for her, she told myt friend everything (her brother). He immediately drove to the guys house knocked on the door and when the guy answered he punched him in the face one time. That one punch knocked him out, broke his jaw and knocked out several teeth. He was charged with felony assault and put on house arrest. When it came to the trial the judge pretty much told him that he didnt blame him for doing it but law was law and he was given time served. He has a felony on his record forever because of it but has told me more than once he would do it again because the system rarely stops a guy like that he would either escalate his behavior or move on to terrorizing another woman. If he spends the rest of his life being pulled over randomly due to a past misdeed that sucks.

    It just seemed odd to me that it would be within their right to do that. Now I fully realize that if it got ugly and came down to him suing them the officers have more than enough "outs" at their disposal to give good reason for pulling him over. I was just digging for more insight from folks who probably know more than I on the issue. As I thought about it this is no different than racial profiling. Youre basically pulling people over "just because" when theyve done nothing to warrant being pulled over. Im thinking all things equal had all this been filmed and presented to a jury/judge the officers would be found to have over stepped their boundaries. Granted I would never push something like that. I wasnt mad. Hell I told them to have at it on the search as there was nothing in the van at all, every compartment is empty. I figured they were just bored and doing a little fishing hoping they land something.

    And the tags will be in my name in short order. Due to work schedules conflicting weve just not been able to pull it off. I do appreciate everyones insight and my friend told me today that he gets pulled over at least every other year over the last 25 years and they have one reason after another as to why when it happens.

  • HAHA, funny you say that. I was once pulled over when I was 18-19 or so and the reason was no light on my plate. The real reason was we were notoriously getting calls on us (pizza delivery guys) and someone had reported drugs were being delivered with our pizzas (pissed off manager that we had fired). We never delivered any drugs with a pizza but we smoked our fair share of grass back then and we all looked the part and being pizza guys stops signs were only stops signs if there were cars coming etc. But I expected it back then. Heck we were rebellious kids and in our eyes surviving all these run ins with Johnny Law was a badge of accomplishment. I knew every officer in Okolona by name in the late 80's and early 90's and they knew us. We never got arrested but they poured out plenty of our beer while partying at McNeely Lake Park under the guise of "fishing" and confiscated some reefer here and there then sent us on our way.

  • Oh my...

  • Because no matter what a known felon is only up to no good at 4am haha. ;) Speaking of a non illuminated license plate, I have a story for you. I was 17/18 years old and back then I drove a Red Galant with chrome rims (apparently I thought that was cool). So my friend and I decided to go grab some Taco Bell at around 11:30 pm. I live in Middletown and the Taco Bell was less than 5 minutes from my house. So as soon as we leave the drive thru and I'm pulling up to the traffic light 6 cops surround my car. Three of the cars were unmarked cops, a small truck, a van, and a white Toyota. We both were freaking out and had no idea what was going on. I turned around to look and was told through their speaker to put our hands on the ceiling. Every cop was out of their car and had a weapon pointed at us. One of the cops asked for my license/registration and asked what we were doing. He also said he pulled me over due to a non illuminated license plate. I told him getting Tacos and held up the bag. He told us to get out and they proceeded to search every inch of the car. They took off the door panels, checked the trunk, the engine, every possible spot. During this process we were standing there in the pouring rain. They made us take our shoes off to search them and we were standing in the rain shoeless. After all this was over and nothing was found I finally was allowed to speak, up until then I was told not to talk. I asked why all of this happened and I asked why did you not ask for my permission to search my car? I also pointed out that my license plate was perfectly illuminated. He admitted that the license plate was not the real reason. He said they received a tip that a red Mitsubishi was stolen and the thieves were drug dealers. I laughed and said wasn't it obvious that this was my car after you checked my license and registration. He simply handed me my license and walked away. I never received an apology from anyone. A simple "I'm sorry" would've been nice. Especially for making us stand for 20 minutes in the rain without shoes, for taking my car apart, for lying, and for making our food rain soaked and cold :). Sorry for the long story, but I'll never forget that night.

    This post was edited by Neil66 18 months ago

    ITV Moderator @Neil66UL

  • You really can't get away with things in the wee hours like you think you can. They're out, usually looking for drunks, and usually in pissed off moods because they're on their shift at 1-4am.

  • RP, the stop, as you describe it, was almost certainly not a legal stop. Officers can only stop a car if they have an "articuable suspicion" that a violation has occurred. Status, such as your friend being a prior convicted felon, is absolutely not a valid reason to suspect that a present crime is occurring, or has recently occurred.

    Consequently, because the stop was unconstitutional, anything that may have been discovered in the car during the search would be suppressed. The facts, again as you state them, clearly obviate an impermissible stop. It's not close really.

    You were profiled (I'm not sure if it was racial) due to the time of night, the area and the fact that they thought you were a convicted felon. Had you actually been charged with anything, that would have been a blast to defend.

  • This has to be satirical. No way that someone could honestly want to throw away the 4th Amendment that easily.

  • The fact remains if you actually made a stink about it they would have just made up an excuse as to why they thought you were involved in suspicious activity. I could see them pulling you over if your pal had a warrant, but just because he had a felony charge back in the day? Seems a little out there to me. Anyway, at least they weren't jerks about it. I've found that generally if you treat the cops alright they will treat you ok. Start swearing at them and being an ass, then your just asking for a ticket.

  • Give Saul Goodman a call - he'll answer any question you have fairly and truthfully.

  • Reminded me of a story....

    I was driving from Bardstown to Louisville on 150. I had a mustang. All of a sudden I see these red lights come up behind me. Not sure So I pull over. the guy comes to my window and says i needed to slow down that part of the road was really bad for accidents. I asked him could I see his badge. He said he was a firefighter but knew the road. I told him Well since I am not on fire get lost and I took off.

  • You should read the other info in this thread ... it actually makes sense.

  • Sorry dude, I'm with L9. I have no problem with a court of law using criminal records and I have no problem with the Police doing the same, especially if the person is driving in my neighborhood. I hope that the Police profile the hell out of every person that's driving in my neighborhood at 4 AM.

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