Of course a police officer can check your rap sheet. In virtually every traffic stop the police are going to check for warrants for the occupants of the car. Your criminal record is a record kept by the government primarily for use by government prosecutors and law enforcement.
The Officer probably checked in the NYPD computer. If the prior charges were dismissed the Officer would have seen you have a sealed case. There is nothing improper in the Officer doing this check.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 17 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
Yes it is legal. Actually it is a standard protocol within law enforcement community. I know because I retired from the NYPD. Additionally, I either represent or know law enforcement officials throughout the world and this same standard is followed during car stops or other street encounters.
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Yes it's legal if he had a basis to stop you.
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