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Old 09-10-2019, 03:13 PM
MikeF is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,627
The officer doesn't seem to know what he was talking about. He seems pretty clear that the justification for the stop was the unlit bulb. I'm not sure what he meant when he replied "Nope but now I have probable cause. Probable cause for what? To search your car? No way. To arrest you? Negative. He may have had PC to believe that you committed an infraction by having the light out but not more than that. Its been mentioned in other threads but the old "Do you know why I stopped you?" while common, is not considered best practice. Modern training is that the officer should tell you right from the start the reason for the stop. Cops are allowed to make stops for traffic violations with the hope of finding something more but the officer still has to follow the rules. For instance, in my state, the officer must have a reasonable suspicion (and articulate that in reports) that you are up to no good before asking for consent to search your car. Of course, you can always refuse. If its not too much of a hassle, go to court. Even in cases where the driver couldn't produce the requested document, the charge is often dismissed or lowered when you show up with the document. There may still be court costs involved. Voiding tickets can be done, depending on the jurisdiction. It may require an affidavit from the officer as to why he wants to do this. Its not simply a matter of the officer saying "never mind" once the ticket is written.

By the way, did you get a written warning for the light? If he didn't document the reason for the stop somewhere, that could be an avenue to pursue. That said, he may have just reported over the radio "One ticket for insurance card., one warning for lamps." even if he didn't write up a formal warning. Once you start getting into the weeds on this stuff, a lawyer is highly recommended. Again, how much does it mean to you? They count on you to not pursue things in court.