Can police cut you off to force you to pull over?

UPDATED: Jul 7, 2015

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Can police cut you off to force you to pull over?

I was not evading nor were the lights on the police unit on when I was cut off. When both vehicles came to a stop but before I was able to put my vehicle into gear, the 2 officers had my passenger yanked out of my vehicle. Is this legal? I am not on probation nor was I; I have had no contact with police for 10 years. My passenger was not on probation or parole, having been released 3 days prior been released from county jail. The officers claimed to have pulled me over for failure to stop at a stop sign. The sign they were claiming I failed to stop at, I had made 3 right hand turns after. Is any of this legal?

Asked on July 7, 2015 under General Practice, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Yes, if you do not stop for police officers when they signal you to stop, they can cut off you off to force you to stop. And if there is any reason to believe that you or your passenger may resist arrest, be armed, etc., they can pull one or both of you out and restrain you. If you were ignoring their signals to stop, they could take that as evidence you or your passenger would resist. You say that they did not have lights on and so did not signal: that is a factual question.  However, if both officers are prepared to testify that they did have their lights on, it would be very difficult to convince a court otherwise; and if the court believes them, their actions would likely be found proper.

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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