Could I file a lawsuit for harrassment?

Asked over 3 years ago - Wenatchee, WA

I recently got my license re-instated after it being suspended for a year. A local cop in my town knows me and my vehicle and stopped me once before for DWLS 2nd (the charge was later dismissed because I was attempting to get my infant daughter to the emergency room). The other day I was running some errands and this officer pulled me over for no other reason that he thought I was still suspended (I wasn't speeding, running lights / stop signs, etc....nothing to give him reason to pull me over). Can the police really pull a person over without cause like that? Is "thinking" I am driving while suspended really enough "cause" for them to pull me over?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Robert Daniel Kelly

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . To make a lawful arrest, "[t]he arresting officer must have probable cause to believe a[ misdemeanor] offense has been or is being committed in his presence." State v. Montgomery, 31 Wn. App. 745, 752, 644 P.2d 747 (1982), cited in 1999 STATE v. LADSON, 138 Wn.2d 343, 361 (1999).
    It therefore appears unlikely that you would have a successful lawsuit on the grounds you set forth in your statement. You might want to check with a lawyer to discuss it further.

    [In accordance with the Avvo community guidelines, this communication does not constitute "legal advice", nor does it form an attorney-client relationship.]

  2. James Edmund Oliver JR

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . I agree with the above answer. My only insight goes to the "damages" portion of a potential suit.

    In order to win a lawsuit for a civil wrong someone committed against you negligently, recklessly, or intentionally, you also need to show damages. Damages is the amount of money necessary to compensate you for loss of property, physical or emotional injuries, or loss of use of property, opportunity costs, etc.

    You might have difficulty proving that the officer's actions damaged you in an amount that can be compensated for with money.

    Contact your local county Bar Association for a referral to an attorney who can sit down with you and discuss this matter.

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