Checking a Licence plate

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Checking a Licence plate

by: Curtisloew on
Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:49 am

Do the police require just cause to check a licence plate, or can they run any plate they want at any time?

Also, is anyone aware of any case law that deals with Police justification, in pulling over a vehicle.

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by: Stanton on
Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:27 pm

Random plate queries are lawful. Random traffic stops are also lawful to check on drivers licence, insurance, etc.

Theres significant case law dealing with police authority to stop persons/vehicles, but youd have to be a little more specific as to what exactly youre looking for.
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by: tdottopcop on
Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:30 pm

Hey Stanton,

I've often wondered the same thing. I understand "random" vehicle stops are lawful in order for police check that the driver is licenced, insured, sober and that the vehicle is mechanically fit...

... but as far as checking licence plates, in my experience anyways, the justification for running plates (as opposed to stopping cars) has been far less documented. Is the act of checking a plate part of the same authority to see if the driver is licenced?

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by: Simon Borys on
Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:52 pm

No authority is needed to check licences plates at random. The reason being, you don't have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the information connected to your licence plate, therefore running it doesn't engage the Charter (like a traffic stop does), therefore no authority is needed. (At least I'm not aware that anyone has successfully argued that they have a reasonable expectation of privacy in that info.)
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by: Brian Smith on
Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:00 pm

I have to agree with Simon here. Your plates are prominently displayed for a reason, and the police have the ability to run those plates. If a stop becomes justified as a result of running game those plates (unlicensed/suspended/prohibited RO, uninsured vehicle, expired validation, stolen car, Amber alert pointer vehicle, etc.) the stop has been justified by the initial information.
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by: viper1 on
Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:31 pm

Both the cops and the parking ticket people drive around in cars with the ability to read a tag.

They have 4 flash bulb's and ? camera's.

If you meet one the flash is pointed down but you will think "what was that, the first time"

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