Cops Court and Coffee will be breaking down various laws, safety issues, and many more topics in lay-mans terms.

Monday, May 15, 2017

New York Police Can Run Your License Plates At Will

Police in New York don’t need a reason to check your license plate number according to a decision by the state’s highest court. The Court of Appeals ruled that the police in New York can run a license plate check on your vehicle even when a law enforcement officer does not suspect that you did anything wrong. Chief Judge Janet DiFiore wrote in the decision“Because the purpose of a license plate is to readily facilitate the identification of the registered owner of the vehicle for the administration of public safety, a person has no reasonable expectation of privacy in the information acquired by the state for this purpose.” Now this is all resulting from a 2014 arrest made by the New York State University Police of a driver Andrew Bushy. Now apparently Bushy passed this officer and allegedly committed no violations and the officer ran his plates and found out that Bushy’s license and registration was suspended. When he was stopped he was given a field sobriety check and was found to be intoxicated. Bushy argued that the officer had no legal reason to check his plates which of course led to his arrest and a lower court agreed with him and threw out the case; however that decision was later overturned and that led up to this decision. The judge also wrote that numerous federal courts have ruled that license plate checks do not amount to a search of an individual. Because license plates are meant to speed the identification of a vehicle’s registered owner, “a person has no reasonable expectation of privacy” in the information a police officer may pull up from the DMV during a plate check.


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