Can a policeofficer pull you over for nothing, ask to search your car, arrest you and not read you your rights?

Grandson was pulled over driving today, he is 18, says he wasn’t doing anything wrong. The cop asked him if he could search his car and he said OK. Cop found a small amount of marijuana in glove compartment that my grandson wasn’t aware of (he says it’s his friends). Consequently he was arrested, fingerprinted on possession. Upon paying his bail of $500today we were told nothing, said they couldn’t discuss anything because it wasn’t public record? Also, he was not given his Miranda rights.

Asked on October 29, 2011 under Criminal Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your grandson should get a criminal defense attorney to represent him.

Generally, the police cannot pull over a car for no reason. If they truly had no grounds to stop him, that might throw out everything (the evidence and statements) found subsequent to that stop. Of course, the fact that your grandson says he was doing  nothing wrong does not mean there was, in fact, no grounds to pull him over: if he was speeding, driving erratically, driving without lights at night, had a broken turn signal, went through a light or stop sign, or was in car about which there was some alert, for example, that would justify a stop.

If the stop is legal, the search is probably legal, too--a person can consent or agree to a police search, which your grandson did, from what you write. So that's why, to exclude themarijuana, it would be important to invalidate the stop in the first place.

The failure to give the Miranda warnings can often allow exclusion of any statements your grandson made, but would not affect the outcome of the consensual search of the car.


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