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Running license plates without cause? Arrest, Search, Seizure, Warrant

Discussion in 'Criminal Procedure, Criminal Court' started by wildchld97, Oct 11, 2004.

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  1. wildchld97

    wildchld97 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I'm not sure if this is the right forum or not to post this or not.

    I called the police the other night to report that someone had tried to break into my car. (We have had a lot of these incidents in the neighborhood lately and since the dome light was still on, I was reasonably sure that the person still had to be in the general area.) The police showed up 25 minutes later. I asked him why it took so long for the cops to get to my house. He then went into a 10 minute sermon on the proper way to address him and that would be as a "police officer".

    After I finally told him that it's probably too late to catch this habitual theif anyway, the officer proceeded to run the plates of both of my cars that were sitting in my driveway. He was looking for to see if my plates were valid. I was offended because first of all *I* was the victim. Second of all, the cars were on *MY* property. Of course they were valid..but that's not the point. I think that the officer was harassing me..or on a fishing expedition to see if he can ticket *me* for anything since I he had a problem with me referring to him as a "cop" instead of a "police officer".

    Is it legal for the officer to run plates on private property without cause?

    Thanks for any responses.
     
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  2. Matrix

    Matrix New Member

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    An officer may run a computer check on a license plate number in plain view if the vehicle is NOT observed to violate any traffic law and there is no other information to suggest that a crime has been or is being committed. That is, there is no proable cause or articulable suspicion requirement to run a computer check of a license plate number in which there is no expectation of privacy. One has a lesser expectation of privacy in a motor vehicle because its function is transportation and it seldom servers as one's residence or as the repository of personal effects. license plates on a motor vehicle are exposed to public view and the visual inspection of the plate number and subsequent computer check of the information pertaining to those plates does not intrude on the legitimate privacy intrests of the owner of the vehicle.
     
  3. wildchld97

    wildchld97 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    One thing I have learned is that if you live in a state that requires only a license plate on the REAR of the car....I would suggest backing your car into your driveway. The officer in question *was* on a fishing expedition. A victim in a crime should not have to deal with that type of harassment. You report a crime and all of the sudden YOU are being investigated. If the jerk would have not wasted time looking up MY plate numbers and VIN numbers (which were valid)...maybe he would have actually accomplished his original goal-to catch the REAL thief. NOTE: Two weeks after I published this post...my entire CAR was stolen. I blame the officer for wasting time. He might have been technically "legal" in looking up MY info...but as with a lot of these boneheads..they come out of school book smart and common sense dumb.
     
  4. CdwJava

    CdwJava Moderator

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    Okay, let's assume for a moment that you were correct and the thief (well, the apparently inept thief) was somewhere in the area ... what did he look like? Which way did he go? When was he in the car? Did he BREAK into the car, or merely open the unlocked car door?

    If the police found someone walking down the street and he did not have stolen property on him or burglary tools used to force entry into the vehicle, they would have a hard time doing anything more than detaining him for a couple minutes. Heck, without some description or further articulable cause, the police cannot just stop and detain some guy walking down the street on the sidewalk. They can pull up, ask to talk to him, and hope he confesses to attempting to steal something, but other than that getting his name and other info might be the only result of that contact ... unless he tells the cops to pound sand (which, in my state, he could do).

    So, exactly what could the police have arrested this person for? At best, they could have checked him for warrants or probation/parole stipulations. Depending on the laws in your state, opening an unlocked car door may not even be a criminal offense.

    Very often the best hope for evidence is by poking around the scene of the crime ... crooks sometime leave tools and even wallets behind (yes, wallets).

    And we HAVE to verify the license plates and the VIN on victim vehicles. Kinda required.

    - Carl
     
  5. Scooterdog

    Scooterdog New Member

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    God I love the arrogance of public servants! "Ima Peace officer" lol, as if that means anything.

    Post your poperty. This is why god made smith & wesson, so you don't have to deal with the jack-booted thugs.

    I guess getting off their duff's was to much to ask for. a half hour later they show up, thats sweet. I guess you can be thinkful you weren't being beat to death, had a stroke or something as bad.

    Since I have no "police" in my town after taking them to court, I'm left with the inept sheriff's dept., and they would never be stupid enough to come on my property. Sometimes it's better to deal with things yourself, rather than let the bungling bullies in blue come along, nothing good ever comes from a visit from them.
     
  6. CdwJava

    CdwJava Moderator

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    It would have been hard to shoot the suspect since wildchild never SAW the suspect.

    - Carl
     
  7. Antisforlovers

    Antisforlovers New Member

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    I think police officers are more used as a means to bring income into state or federal funding and they will do whatever it takes to bring in money. Fishing and checkpoints are just easy ways to facilitate it. And you wont be able to stop it because if moneys involved the state or/and fed is sold on it.
     
  8. tpajet

    tpajet New Member

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    First of all, if you are stopped at a red light, and an officer is behind you, watch what they do - look at your car, look down, back at the car, back down - they are running your plate number. And if your car was stolen, you'd be quite glad they did. Yes, it is legal to run the plate and vin.

    Also, there are places in the states the have only rear bumper plates that requrie to you park forward in your drive, not backed in, so that the plate is visible.

    At best, you could contact a seargent and explain what happened with regard to the guys attitude, but otherwise, you didn't see the person, so who are they going to go after? For that matter, they could have had a car parked the next street over, and even if the police showed up 5 minutes later, they could have been gone, even having passed the police car on the way to you.
     
  9. ananas238

    ananas238 New Member

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    Police are making vehicles now with several cameras attached to them. They will run these vehicles on interstates and large parking lots (lots of license plates). The camera will read your plate, run your information and notify the police of stolen vehicles, attachments, warrants, etc. They tested one of these surveillance vehicles in my area recently.

    You think it's bad now, wait until you're at the mall with your girlfriend when an officer enters the store (he knows what you look like from running your shit) and arrests you for failure to appear on some crap you probably already cleared up 10 years prior. EDIT* AND THEN SEARCHES YOUR CAR!
     
  10. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    There is absolutely nothing illegal about the cameras.
     

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