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CriminalDefense, Attorney
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 28066
Experience:  10 + years in Traffic Ticket Defense, DUI/DWI and Criminal Defense cases
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I was recently( 8/3/2015) pulled over in Bethlehem Township

Customer Question

I was recently( 8/3/2015) pulled over in Bethlehem Township PA, I was not committing any traffic offense at the time of the stop. The police officer ran my plate for no reason. As I just bought my car on 7/24/2015 the registration was being processed. This is the "reason" the officer had pulled me over event though there was no traffic violation being committed. When the officer pulled me over I showed him the pink slip, the insurance information, and the paperwork for the transfer of the plate to that particular vehicle. Unfortunately my license was suspended at the time of the stop. I am NOT arguing the fact that I was driving while suspended for not paying fines. My questions are is it legal for a police officer to run a license plate for no reason at all or are they required to have reasonable suspicion? Also after I looked at the citation the officer entered the wrong vehicle on the citation, he entered the vehicle I no longer legally own as the vehicle being driven I had traded that vehicle for the new vehicle. Is there a possibility of the citation being dismissed for that reason? The officer also told me while handing me the citation that there was an outstanding warrant for my arrest for not paying my fines, which by the way are now ALL paid in full. He stated that " he was not going to place me under arrest cause he didn't have time to deal with that tonight". Is this an appropriate way to handle a person who has a warrant for their arrest? I thank you for your time and advice.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  CriminalDefense replied 2 years ago.
Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help solve your problem.
Good morning. I certainly understand the situation and your concern. Yes, an Officer can run plates for no reason, simply checking to see if the vehicle is properly registered, that the plates belong to the car, to see if the owner has a suspended license or any other issue related to the vehicle. Officers do this all time when behind a vehicle and is often a basis for a stop. Now, the issue with the wrong vehicle being on the face of the citation is a matter for trial. If you want to fight this and go to court and argue you were not driving X car, it could be a defense but the question would be the plates and license number, thus showing that while the Officer made an error on the make and model, you were driving and behind the wheel of the vehicle and if the Officer catches this, could amend the citation prior to trial. In regard to the arrest, it is at the discretion of the Officer. For something that involves unpaid traffic fines, the Officer decides if this is something which is worth the time or effort to make an arrest on, when there are greater problems and crime out there, for him to attend to.
Expert:  CriminalDefense replied 2 years ago.

I just wanted to follow up and see if you had any other questions or needed me to clarify something. I am here to help, so please let me know. Thanks!