Can police involve themselves in auto accidents when they have no reason to be suspicious?

UPDATED: Jul 24, 2010

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Can police involve themselves in auto accidents when they have no reason to be suspicious?

I was rear-ended at a stop sign but there was no damage so I told the person it was fine and not to worry about it. As we were about to leave a police officer (who was driving behind the person who hit me) came out and started getting involved. He immediately asked if I had been drinking and proceeded to make me follow his finger with my eyes. (I was the one who got hit). He then started questioning the cooler in my trunk to see if there was alcohol in it. He also wanted to know why I wasn’t getting the information from the person hit me (I told him there was no damage and therefor no point).

Asked on July 24, 2010 under Accident Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Even though no one was injured and no property was damaged, the police witnesses the contact and did have the right to stop and question the parties involved in the matter.  In fact, they may have had an obligation under the law to do so  They can not ignore these types of incidences.  Because you did not make an issue of the occurrence they became suspicious and investigated more.  Did they act properly? Maybe, maybe not.  They may have thought that you did not call the police because you did not want to draw attention to yourself in some way and for some reason. And that reason may give rise to an occurrence that would cause greated harm later on.  They erred on the side of caution and tried to think globally and not locally, so to speak.  For the better good. They did not handcuff you or haul you in. They just checked out what was happening. They had the right to do so.

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