Is it legal for an officer to say that I looked guilty when being pulled over?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it legal for an officer to say that I looked guilty when being pulled over?

I was pulled over for speeding recently. I was not going excessively faster than

speed limit but just trying to go with the speed of traffic ahead of me. I saw a

cop next to me but I was not worried because my speed wasn’t excessive as I

have said. I was pulled over by a cop who told me that when I looked over at

him, my face looked guilty so he pulled me over and will be giving me a

speeding ticket because he determined I was going over the speed limit. My

question then is would there be any case against this biased reaction.

Asked on July 27, 2018 under General Practice, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You say you were "not going excessively faster" and that you were "go[ing] with the speed of traffic"--were you going over the speed limit or not? If you were speeding, the stop and ticket were legal. It does not matter why he pulled you over as opposed to another driver--a guilty look, or the type or color of car you were driving (sports cars and red cars are pulled over more frequently); the police cannot pull over everyone (there are too many speeders), so they pull over some speeders that catch their eye), and the reason why they pull over car A and not car B is not relevant. So long as A was speeding, the stop was valid. (There is no right to speed to keep up with traffic, by the way.)

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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