Info that police can collect without a warrant?

Moderator Note

This is getting a bit too far outside of the bounds of GQ. Feel free to take it to GD if you’d like.

Do you have a cite for the “probably” part of that sentence? While police officers are human and do sometimes do bad things, in my experience most officers are actually trying to do good. I’m sure that this has happened before on more than one occasion, and maybe the LAPD does have a problem that needs to be addressed, but this sort of thing does not appear to me to be standard operating procedure across the country. If you have a cite I’d like to see it, otherwise I have some severe doubts about the “probably” part of that.

I had a very similar situation… Many years ago (at least 15 years ago) I was pulled over once a couple blocks from my house. It was nighttime, a bit wet, and I had passed through an intersection and a cop pulled me over.

He asked if I knew why I’d been pulled over, and I said no, because in all honesty I had no clue. I wasn’t speeding and I hadn’t done anything like change lanes without signaling or any other infraction I could think of. He said I “went through a yellow light late”. Which I’d never heard of. I confirmed that the light was yellow, not red, and he did confirm it. Which confused me.

He then asked to see my license, which I provided, and proof of insurance. My insurance card was missing. Back then, I had Geico, and their proof of insurance was just something you punched out from a regular sheet of letter-sized paper, the same paper you’d get from an office copier. I would keep it where I kept my credit cards but since it was about 1/5 as thick as a credit card it fell out.

I explained that to the cop, and I pointed to my house that was within sight. I told him I could grab my insurance card, or call my wife to come bring it to me, since I was just outside of my house and I knew where the second copy of my insurance was. He refused to let me do either and wrote me a ticket for having no insurance, which was a pretty hefty fine for me at that time (hundreds of dollars). I was pissed off but polite about it; the last thing I wanted to do was make him angry and he clearly had no sense of humor and to me it seemed like he was looking for an excuse to write a ticket.

I contested the ticket and got a court date a couple of months later. I told the judge my story, and he asked if I had insurance, and if I had the card. I pulled it out and he dismissed it. The interaction couldn’t have been longer than 2 minutes. I even tried to explain to him that the card had an issue date that was older than the ticket and he waved off my explanation, said he didn’t care about the details as long as I had insurance now. I just thanked him and that was that.