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When Can the Police Stop my vehicle?

by Jan 28, 2011DWI / DUI, Education, Uncategorized

Under Minnesota Law, an officer is allowed to stop a vehicle so long as the officer has a reasonable legal basis to make the stop.  An officer is allowed to stop a vehicle when they have actually observed a violation of the law.  If an officer observes a violation of the law, such as speeding, careless driving, or even failing to signal a turn, you could be stopped.

Can I be Stopped When the Officer Didn’t Actually see any Violation of the Law? 

Even if an officer has not actually seen a violation of the law, he may still be able to stop your vehicle.  For an officer to stop you without first observing a violation of the law, the officer must have reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.   Suspicion is deemed reasonable, if the officer had “specific and articulable” grounds to believe that a crime is about to be committed or has already been committed.

What if the Officer did not have a Valid Reason to Stop my Vehicle?

If a stop is deemed unconstitutional, any evidence obtained after the stop is inadmissible in court.  The legal term for this is known as the “exclusionary rule”.  Simply put, evidence obtained as the result of an illegal stop cannot be used in a court of law.  If you were illegally stopped by an officer and then arrested for a crime, the evidence obtained against you after that stop cannot be used to convict you.

 How can an Attorney Help me with a Stop Issue?

If a stop is reasonable can be a tricky question.  Challenging the authority of a police officer can be difficult and formidable task. Having a good lawyer on your side, advocating your interests can mean the difference between a conviction and a dismissal.  A skilled Criminal Defense Attorney can help you fight the assertions of an officer.  An experienced trial lawyer knows the complex history of stop issues, and can use the law to your advantage.

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