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How police can overstep their boundaries during traffic stops

Sirens in your rearview mirror make your heart jump, and fortunately, many times, they are meant for another driver. However, once in a while, you could be the one who gets pulled over.

Police pull drivers over for many reasons, including a broken light, suspected speeding or unsafe driving. Sometimes, these stops proceed as they should, but other times, police overstep their boundaries. Here is a look at several ways how. 

Pulling you over for invalid reasons

Sometimes, police pull drivers over for reasons that do not pass muster. These can include race and age, for example, pulling you over because you look too old to be driving safely even though there is no evidence you were driving unsafely. This in itself is a huge boundary violation and one police get away with sometimes. They might break a taillight and claim it was already broken and cite that as the reason for the pullover. Or they might assume that drivers are too ignorant of the law or scared of officers' authority for anything substantial to happen.

Saying they can do things they cannot

Perhaps your car registration expired, and that is the reason police give for pulling you over. It turns out, though, that after dealing with that issue, the officer wants you to do a field sobriety test or wants to check your car for drugs. By and large, police can only investigate you for the reason they pulled you over in the first place. Many times, it would take something compelling such as drugs out in the open for that to change.

Touching you inappropriately

Sexual harassment and unwanted touching are big topics lately, and this is something some police officers do during traffic stops. When they touch a driver or passenger inappropriately, that is a gross violation of officers' power and erodes the public's trust in authority.

An attorney can help determine if police crossed any boundaries during a traffic stop. As with many issues, it is not always a clear-cut matter and can be controversial.

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