I got pulled over for nothing... What are the ramifications if any?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Snowbird, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. Snowbird

    Snowbird Cereal Killer

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    Two days ago, I was riding along at the speed limit (NY) on an Interstate highway when a police officer came up behind me, pulled into the passing lane slightly ahead of me, then dropped back and turned his lights on. I pulled over and he asked for my license and registration, which I provided. My bike also has a current, valid inspection sticker and I handed over my insurance card. IOWs, completely legal motorcycle in good condition ridden by a guy wearing a full-face helmet, protective jacket, gloves, riding pants and motorcycle boots pulled over for no discernable reason.

    The officer was polite. He told me that his automatic plate reader submitted my plate number to the system and came back with no verification that it was a legitimate plate number. When that happened, he asked "dispatch" to enter the number manually, and again, there was no match. Now, I know the plate number is in the system at DMV because for the past five years I have renewed my registration on-line. Also, there is a 'stack' of registration stickers on the plate where each year I placed the new sticker over the old as is the approved practice.

    Before taking my papers to the cruiser, where he again ran the plate number, he felt the plate and said that novelty plates can be purchased. Again, the numbers did not match, but he was convinced my bike was properly registered and insured, blamed the state computer system and told me to go. We exchanged a few pleasant sentences including that I was running a day late because I'd been holed up in a motel ill for a day. Still not at the top of my game from the illness, I put my papers away and went on my way.

    My questions: If being perfectly legal is not enough to prevent being pulled over, then what is? Was the officer justified in pulling me over? Does this happen on occasion to other motorists? If this is not an isolated incident, what does this mean to presumption of innocence, Fourth amendment rights, and civil liberties in general?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

    "The Fourth Amendment (Amendment IV) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. It prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures."

    EDIT:
    Lastly, should I just drop this or seek a court fight to protect others?

    The above is a rhetorical question. There is NO WAY I plan or would even consider spending time or money on a quixotic legal battle. As we've all seen, there are those readers who consider every statement literally. Hopefully, this edit will keep them from stroking out.
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  2. Amphib

    Amphib A mind is like a parachute....

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    Personally Id move on from this. Mistakes happen, Leo's have a tough job. He sounded professional.

    I got felony stopped on the bike once, guns drawn, ripped off the bike..... Turns out they entered my plate number wrong, while I was pissed at the time for nearly giving me a heart attack, they were apologetic, and I understand the complexities they face. Seriously, I'd let it go. Just contact the dmv and get your tag issue sorted. It sure wasn't the cops fault..... Just my 2 cents.
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  3. BaldKnob

    BaldKnob I Wanna Ride

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    Breathing is a probable cause these days... move along. Nothing to see here.
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  4. boulet_boulet

    boulet_boulet Been here awhile

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  5. CaptCapsize

    CaptCapsize Long timer

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    Sounds like he was checking to see if it was stolen. I wish they would check more for that locally here. We have 2700 stolen vehicles every year. Most end up in either Mexico or a chop shop.
    The motto for this town should be:
    I stopped in Albuquerque and had to stay... because they stold my car.

    4th amendment: Did the officer search you or the bike ? Did he seize any of your property ?

    I would check with the DMV...which usually stands for Dimwits, Morons, and Vermin. Good luck!
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  6. ozmoses

    ozmoses . Supporter

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    Sounds like OP doesn't get out much.
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  7. PlainClothesHippy

    PlainClothesHippy Riding a dangerously quiet bike.

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    It sounds like the problem is with the database, not the officer. He used his discretion in determining if the indicated problem was valid. Definitely you need to contact the DMV and get the tag sorted out now that you know there's a problem.
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  8. Snowbird

    Snowbird Cereal Killer

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    Thanks for the reply, but I doubt DMV would be of help. Stopping people with no regard to Constitutionally guaranteed rights is getting out of hand. That said, I'm not sure I'm the guy to take up the battle. As the Japanese say, "the nail that sticks up gets pounded down."
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  9. Snowbird

    Snowbird Cereal Killer

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    As I said, DMV clearly has the information. If the problem is in the database or the computer system, then everyone is screwed. That was the idea behind the 1980s movie "Brazil," which had nothing to do with Brazil, but everything to do with dystopian societies that allow machines power. What was the threat to society at large that was greater than the threat to me personally posed by the officer making me pull over? What possible justification was there? At what limit would the public stand up to abuse and when that limit is reached, will resistance be possible?
    #9
  10. Amphib

    Amphib A mind is like a parachute....

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    Couple of things.... Something that's helped me over the years is my dad's words to me early in my driving career that driving is a privilege, not a right. And we have to share these roads with everyone, including thieves. It's frustrating for sure, but law enforcement has to respond to the lowest common denominator. It can be a pain in the ass for law abiding citizens such as ourselves, but criminals are constantly pushing law enforcement to refine and adapt their "toolkit". This is also part of the reason I prefer to live, travel, and enjoy the rural places where I will not be as affected by actions of others. I wish you luck and safe riding. I hope the tag issue is easily resolved.
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  11. 23103a

    23103a not n00b

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    I have pulled people over because when I ran their plate, it came back no record. Sometimes it's because DMV hasn't updated the system yet, and sometimes DMV has input a VIN or plate number wrong (they put an O instead of zero in the computer, etc) Regardless, once it's confirmed there is nothing wrong with the registration, they go about their merry way, as you did.

    I cannot think of any pertinent case law, but I do feel that reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop is met if the DMV returns no record for a license plate on a vehicle. I've never seen anyone manufacture a license plate but I suppose it could happen.
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  12. Khantahr

    Khantahr Adventurer

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    I think that no record of your license plate is probable cause to stop you, even if it is due to an error. What if it wasn't an error and you had stolen the bike? There's no way for the cop to know. I probably would contact the DMV and try to get it sorted out.
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  13. c_m_shooter

    c_m_shooter Ninja Warrior

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    I used to get stopped about every week for no reason. Cops get bored at night in small towns around here and coming home at 3:00 am every night made me a likely target for phishing. I've had a couple cops buy houses within a mile of me and got pulled over by both of them for no reason. After the fact they fessed up that they just wanted to know who was driving in "their" neighborhood at night.
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  14. FormerOilhead

    FormerOilhead Old Fart

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    Take it to the Supreme Court.
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  15. Yard Sale

    Yard Sale let's be bad guys

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    Delaware v Prouse says it's an illegal seizure. Whren v U.S. says it's a legal seizure, if the shitty database and record keeping constitutes RAS. Either way, you would still have to crack the officer's qualified immunity.
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  16. Paul466

    Paul466 Adventurer

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    You should’ve pretended not to speak English and that you’re “undocumented” dreamer, he would wash your bike and kiss your ass all over. In NY some things are more “illegal”than others.
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  17. usgser

    usgser Long timer

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    +1
    You now know there is an error somewhere so get it fixed. Have the DMV/DOL double check their database. If the error can't be found/ corrected, have them issue you a brand new plate and start over fresh. Beats risking getting stopped again by a less professional LEO. I'd also talk with your insurance agent about the plate being invalid. At least get the issue on record with them. Even if your ins is paid up in full and you crash and "need" the ins. If your vehicle isn't currently valid/legally registered/plated for street use the ins goes "poof" cause ins co's only ins street legal vehicles. Sure you can probably(?) get it hammered out in court. If you think dealing with the DMV/DOL is a pain, imagine the hassle in court trying to prove it was legally registered and the DMV and ins co says it's not. :(
    You have the opportunity to pick your battle. Pick wisely.
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  18. ozmoses

    ozmoses . Supporter

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    :csm
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  19. ozmoses

    ozmoses . Supporter

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    Best bet is to declare sovereignty:

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  20. Schmokel

    Schmokel "Falling Down" makes more sense every day.

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    And good luck if they have a dog.

    My dog smelled weed. I can now search the vehicle.
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