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Hello - earlier today my wife, who suffers from a chronic condition

called CRPS, was pulled over...
Hello - earlier today my wife, who suffers from a chronic condition called CRPS, was pulled over for her car being out of PA inspection. The officer proceeded to impound her car, leaving her on the side of the road without reliable transportation which caused her to miss an important chronic pain management appointment. The issue is not only the missed appointment but the pain caused by her having to limp to the closest restaurant to sit down and escape the 99 degree temperatures. Was the police officer legally able to go to this extreme based upon my wife's disability? Thank you.
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Answered in 7 minutes by:
7/19/2013
Dimitry K., Esq.
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41,221
Experience: Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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Thank you for your post. I am a licensed Pennsylvania professional. Please allow me to assist you directly with your concerns.

My answer may likely be not favorable to you, so I ask that you keep that in mind when I provide you with my answer. I aim to give you the best and most accurate answer as it exists under state law, and not always what you may hope is the favored response.

Having said that...

Was the vehicle formally not inspected? Did the officer stop your wife properly? Did the officer contact anyone to help your wife or drive her anywhere where there was air conditioning?
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

It was formally inspected but had expired. I can't say for sure if she was stopped properly as I was not present. No, he did not contact anyone or offer to drive her anywhere. He told her that there was a bus route that she could take if needed after explaining that I couldn't get to her location for roughly 90 minutes.

Thank you for your follow-up, Nathan.

How long did she end up waiting before a bus showed up and could take her somewhere else?
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago
She didn't actually get a bus because she isn't familiar with the stops or schedule. She had to walk to a nearby restaurant where she was able to wait for me. Walking is what exacerbates her CRPS symptoms which was the issue because she didn't have a walker.

Nathan,

Thank you for your follow-up. My apologies on the short delay.

The answer is partially favorable, and partially not in your favor. The officer did have a right to pull over your spouse if the inspection was out of date. Under PA law he likewise could impound the car and compel inspection to take place before it was drivable--one of the conditions of using state roads is to have properly inspected vehicles on it. This is unusual but not improper--most officers simply give a warning and then require the person to return with a copy of the vehicle sticker showing that the car is properly inspected.

However here there may be a serious issue with the officer's judgment and behavior. This is one of the hottest days of the year, if not the hottest. He left an ill woman on the road without transportation and air conditioning. That, frankly, could have created a very risky situation that could create injury or even death. THAT is a problem. This, therefore, opens up a claim for civil suit for damages and pain and suffering the was objected to for being left out on the street in this weather. I suggest you contact the officer's precinct and speak to the sergeant on duty or the captain, and then retain a civil litigation attorney if they refuse to apologize and return the vehicle. This is simply unacceptable and I am sorry that your wife was exposed to it.

Good luck.

Dimitry K., Esq.
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41,221
Experience: Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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Dimitry K., Esq. and 87 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago
Thank you for your help.
You are most welcome, truly. I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX your spouse is fine.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago
I wanted to give you a quick update. I spoke with one of the sergeants and he didn't apologize, nor admit any wrongdoing on the officer's part. He seemed to feel he was operating well within his rights.

Nathan,

I am sorry to hear that but it is also not unexpected. Going purely on the legal basis here, the officer WAS operating within his rights. He could take the vehicle for the tags being expired. But operating within his rights is not the same as exercising 'good' judgment--if something happened to your wife, which arguably already took place if she suffered adverse medical affects, the officer, by virtue of placing her in that position, would be deemed liable. But of course no officer would admit to this--they feel either above their responsibility or they do not want to admit their own liability. I agree that it is shameful and I agree that it is wrong, which is why I suggested counsel if you do decide to pursue this further on your end. There is the 'right' answer on the legal end, and an improper decision from a judgment end, which is where this ends up falling.

Good luck.

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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq.
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