JERSEY CITY and NEWARK, New Jersey. According to the Marshall Project, the Supreme Court recently refused to hear an appeal on a case in which a parking violation led to a police search of a vehicle, which led to the discovery of incriminating evidence and arrest. A man inside a vehicle that has been improperly parked was arrested when officers descended upon the improperly parked vehicle and discovered an illegally owned firearm inside the car.
Probable cause is the standard officers must adhere to before they can conduct a search, get a warrant, or make an arrest. Officers must have reasonable belief that a crime was committed. One of the ways that officers discover crimes in progress is when they stop drivers who have violated other road laws.
Officers can stop drivers if they violate the rules of the road. If, during a routine traffic stop, other incriminating evidence is found—for example, the officer discovers that the driver may have been drinking and driving or if drugs are found in the vehicle—then the officer has a right to make an arrest. Yet, does this right extend to traffic tickets?
In most cases, officers will often just leave a ticket on a driver’s windshield. However, in some precincts officers are explicitly told to pursue small violations aggressively in the hope of finding larger violations. Research has shown that officers are more likely to stop black drivers for defects like missing tail lights. In fact, black drivers are reportedly seven times more likely to be stopped by police than white drivers. The concern is that police might profile improperly parked cars in minority neighborhoods.
What are your rights if you are stopped by police or find yourself being questioned for parking in the wrong place? According to Business Insider, there are steps you can take to protect your rights. If you hear sirens, the best thing to do is wait until you find a safe place to pull over. Ideally, signal the officer with your hand, and slow down, so that the officer knows that you have recognized his or her stop.
Finally, if police ask to search your car, you have the right to refuse. Don’t give officers consent to search your vehicle. However, an officer does have the right to look in your back window to see if there are any drugs or weapons. If there is anything in plain sight, you could be arrested based on this fact alone. Another case where an officer may be able to search your vehicle without your consent is if you are arrested. So, if an officer arrests you for a DUI, the officer may also have the right to search your car. Another case where an officer can search your vehicle without your consent is if he or she suspects that a crime has taken place. If you have a bloody shirt or have what appears to be stolen goods, the officer can search your car.
If you have been arrested after a search, consider reaching out to the criminal defense lawyers at the Law Office of Eric M. Mark in Jersey City and Newark, New Jersey. Our firm can review the circumstances of your arrest and search, and determine whether your rights may have been violated. If your rights were violated during a search, the case could be thrown out. Visit us at https://www.ericmarklaw.com/ to learn more about your rights. Facing criminal charges can be frightening. A qualified lawyer can help you navigate the criminal justice system.
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