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Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 111459
Experience:  Attorney with over 24 years of law and traffic law
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Last night police allowed some girl to drive 2 blocks after

Customer Question

Last night police allowed some girl to drive 2 blocks after allegedly seeing a child standing up in the back seat. Once the driver parked her car they pulled up along side of her car and asked for license and registration, they did not identify themselves as police or turn on the police lights. Is this proper procedure?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Police have discretion in conducting traffic stops. It is not "improper procedure" for the police to follow someone and wait for them to stop naturally before approaching the person. Also, it is a fallacy that police have to identify themselves as police. As long as they are in uniform or displaying a badge visibly, they are identified as police. Emergency lights are to notify oncoming traffic for safety, it really has no bearing on the fact of whether or not they can stop a person.
So what you describe is not improper.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
if they actually saw a child standing why let her drive further... Is there not something wrong here?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
The police are not liable for a driver allegedly allowing a child to stand in the car. The police also have no legally mandated duty to stop every car or every person for every violation they observe, that is why it is a discretionary action to stop someone. The police would actually not be liable for them letting her drive and would not have been liable even if they never stopped her and let her continue driving with the child standing because they have no duty that mandates them to stop her.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What is 4581 (a)(1)
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
It is a seatbelt/restraint violation. So it means someone in the vehicle was not properly restrained either by seatbelt or child restraint system.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The cops words was he saw the child looking out the back window from his car seat...How does someone argue this if they know the child was in they carseat and wasn't unbuckled til parked...
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
It is the driver's word against the word of the police officer. This is something that happens daily in court, because in traffic stops it is almost always the word of the officer against the driver and there are no other witnesses. The courts frequently take the officer's word because they hold the officer has no personal interest in the case, they merely report what they see and the driver claiming they did not do something is a self serving statement that is biased to prevent the driver from having any penalties.
So, all the driver can do is explain what happened and perhaps bring in a picture of the car seat and show how the officer could have been mistaken in what they saw.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
There was a passenger and witnesses that were outside at the time and recordings of the passenger being harassed.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
If there were witnesses, then she needs to plead not guilty and bring those witnesses to court with her to testify that the child was not standing up. That is how she can defend against the citation.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If the citation is dropped can both the driver and passenger file civil suits
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
No, under the law, the police have statutory immunity from lawsuits from performance of discretionary duties. So they cannot be sued for stopping someone and giving them a citation. The state has exempted itself and its agencies from suit for these types of claims.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What's the worse that can happen if the citation isn't dismissed
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
The maximum fine for this infraction (it is not a criminal offense) is up to $100 and court costs of about $150. Typically, the fine is about $75 plus the $150 court costs.

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