In California police officers aren’t permitted to conduct traffic stops without reasonable suspicion to pull you over. This means a police officer can’t pull you over unless they have a specific reason to do so which constitutes a reasonable belief that a traffic violation occurred. However, it is unfortunately not always the case and some police officers use excuses for why they pulled you over. Some of the common excuses that cops use to pull individuals over are discussed below.
Some of the most common excuses that police officers use to pull you over have to do with the equipment on your car. Some common excuses that police officers use to pull you over are that your taillight is out, license plate is out, you weren’t wearing a seat belt, or they suspect your window tint to be too dark.
Some other excuses that police officers use to pull you over has to do with how you are driving. The police officer may say they witnessed you driving hazardously. Some of these excuses are speeding, improper lane changes (not using your turn signals), driving too slowly and tailgating. Tailgating is a common practice in California and is illegal according to California Vehicle Code §21703 titled Following too Closely. It states, “the driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon, and the condition of, the roadway”. This code section is very broad and may be the reason why it is a common excuse for police officers to pull an individual over. They may also claim they witnessed you swerving, failing to stop at a stop sign, or having an unusual speeding and breaking pattern.
Dash and Body Cameras
However, it is important to note that these excuses are becoming less frequent with the implication of dash and body cameras. Since many police officers are now required to use dash and body cameras these excuses are becoming harder to use since now there is documentation and evidence that show the reason for the stop didn’t constitute reasonable suspicion. These excuses are still used today but are not as frequent as they once were.