Sunday, January 8, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Ithaca's Plate Scanners Give Law Enforcement Stopping Power

Police Scanners are Located on the Back of a Patrol Car
In 2014 Governor Cuomo granted Ithaca City Police, Cayuga Village Police, Tompkins County Sheriff's Office, Dryden Police, and Trumansburg Police money to buy Automatic License Plate Recognition Scanners (ALPR). This modern technology can give law enforcement a fast tool to assess a car and it's occupants in seconds. Some states like New Hampshire have been this technology as being an invasion of privacy but not New York. What if the scanner is not accurate? Is the stop of your car legal? Is anything the police finds in your car or on your person a violation of your rights?

Automatic Police Plate Scanners Are Fast But Not Perfect

A plate scanner can take the picture, and then scan 100 license plates a minute. It runs the information through a series of online databases of unlicensed drivers, unregistered vehicles, stolen cars, wanted drivers, and cars with suspended insurance coverage. The police in New York can then stop your vehicle legally if the system shows a hit (something outstanding). Of course like all technology sometimes the computers get things wrong. Just like sometimes the DMV gets it wrong. People input faulty information, a clerk puts in a 2 instead of a 3 or an A instead of a B, and bingo you are in trouble.

What If the Plate Scanner is Wrong, Was the Stop by the Police Illegal?

What if the plate reader makes a mistake? What if you have all the required insurance, a paid registration, and a perfect license? Unfortunately on that day the police find drugs on you or your passenger as a result of the stop. Can those drugs be suppressed by the court? Can you argue that it was in fact an illegal stop?

Good Faith is All the Police Need to Justify a Stop of a Car Legally in New York

The police in New York have what's called the Good Faith Exception to an illegal stop. Even if the information that they had to stop the car was wrong for whatever reason, they can still be justified if they acted in GOOD FAITH objectively.

Even if another motorist phoned in a car driving recklessly with the wrong plate, model, year, or color. If you get pulled over based upon that bad tip anything they discover or find as a result of it is still fair game. You can and will be charged with a crime for anything they uncover as long as they acted in GOOD FAITH.

Big Police Brother is Here and George Orwell was Only Off by 30 Years

That is why sometimes being at the wrong place at the wrong time can wind up being a mess. With modern technology the police can record and monitor where we are going, where we have been, and
maybe even give them a clue to what we've been up to. If your car is scanned leaving the area where drugs are sold, the police will also have you, your license, registration, and your history. Imagine if you will police cars all all over Tompkins county with this technology.

You are being scanned, tracked, and logged at various locations via GPS. Do your driving and stopping patterns reveal anything about you or your habits? George Orwell 1984, and Big Police Brother here we come.