Can a cop pull me over without an actual traffic violation being made? And if so/ not what is the traffic violation code for this?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a cop pull me over without an actual traffic violation being made? And if so/ not what is the traffic violation code for this?

I was pull over by the police after he had trailed me for half a block, and as he walked up to the car he never told me what I did wrong for him to stop me he just asked for my license and insurance. I gave both my license and insurance to him and he then ran my information, when he came back to the car he told me that another county put a suspension block on my license because I failed to pay off my fines from another traffic violation. The next day I made a call to the other county and in fact they told me my fines has been paid off in full and case has been closed for the past few weeks. They also stated they never put a suspension block on my license. How would I go about handling this new ticket?

Asked on August 3, 2018 under General Practice, Ohio


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Before a cop can pull you over, there has to be some evidence of an offense or infraction (traffic or otherwise).  Cops can conduct traffic stops for offenses other than just traffic stops.  For example, if a vehicle matches the description of a vehicle used as a get-a-way vehicle in a robbery.  If the officer had no reason to pull you over, then the stop was not permissible, and anything that happened after the stop was illegal and is subject to being thrown out.  The officer didn't have to tell you at the time of the stop....but they do have tell the court if the officer wants the charges to stick.
With this in mind, you have two defenses to the charge of "driving while licenses suspended."  The first is the illegality of the traffic stop.  The second is actual innocence because your license was not suspended at the time.  When you show up for traffic court, you need to plead not guilty and explain that your license was not, in fact, suspended, show the prosecutor, and most likely they will move for dismissal.  If they insist on taking you to trial, you will need to file a motion to supress the illegal stop.  If either position is upheld, then the charges will go away.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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