What are my rights if pulled over by the police, and if violated what can i do about it?

Asked about 2 years ago - Clio, MI

I was pulled over after making a left turn. I used my turn signal, was driving the speed limit, and wearing my seat belt. The officer approched my car and asked from my licence, registration, and proof of insurance, i gave them to him and asked why i was being pulled over. He said they were enforcing the seat belt law, even tho i had my seat belt on. He told me to step out and go to the back of the car, i was searched and so was my car even tho i refused the search. i asked for his name and badge number and then i was handcuffed and put in the back seat of the police car, after he refused my request for his name and badge number. My car was searched and they found nothing, then he asked my if i wanted to go home or to jail, i said home and he let me go, no ticket or anything.

Attorney answers (1)

  1. James S. Lawrence

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

    Answered . What you have described sounds like an illegal detention and search, though of course I have heard only your side, not theirs. They might claim they say you make an actual violation, but decided to let you go with a warning. That is completely legal. The claim that lack of a ticket issued to you, means that you committed no traffic violation, is a weak position I would not expect to win if it stood alone. However, the totality of circumstances, including any contradictions between the officers, could make this a winning claim. The question is, in what sort of proceeding could you raise it.

    If you were charged with a criminal offense from this incident, you might use the unlawful police conduct to win an order suppressing the evidence against you. Since you are not being charged that is not an option.

    You theoretically could sue, but the amount of damages for a short detention like you describe are so low that you would have trouble finding an attorney willing to proceed on this for you.

    You should document what happened by writing out a statement of facts while the events are still fresh in your mind. If it happens again, then you have a pattern of misconduct which would be a better subject for a lawsuit than a single event. You might, if you choose, complain to higher police authorities about it, but that might backfire by bringing you unwanted attention by friends of the officers you complain about. Good luck.

    Contact me at 248-399-6930 for a free consultation. You and I do not have an attorney-client relationship formed... more

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