i am in a borrowed car. i am one of two passengers. we two passengers have been drinking and, while under 21, are pretty wisped. the driver, who is also 21, had had one drink at like ten or eleven (he was turntabling that night at a party, which we had just left because it was over, and were going to a diner called “Tom Jones”, and he doesn’t like to drink whilst trying to scratch). the time is like three in the morning.
may i add that the driver is black. the two passengers are white. all of the cops who later got involved (ewok, noriega, officer retardo motgomery) were white (and mean). so we are going down the road, a car coming towards us (in the other lane, mind you). he pulls a superfast uey, and directs us to the side of the road. three more cop cars come in quick succession.
the driver asks “what seems to be the problem, officer?” (note: none of the cops were southern, but it’s funner to read their lines as if they were) “Well, seems you got a busted taillight. Hey, i can smell beer. You been drinkin?” Editor’s note- cold november night in philadelphia, maybe 20 if we’re lucky- i doubt the guy could smell how full of shit he was, let alone beer fumes in a car with three guys smoking menthols and the windows down. But i will give him the benefit of the doubt.
The driver was asked for his license and registration. he gave both to the officer and explained that this was a borrowed car. the cop breathalyzed him, and he blew a point zero one. that’s right, .01. then, without asking if we were over 21 or getting id from us, myself and the other passenger were breathalyzed and both blew .10’s, and then and only then were we searched (again, without our consent). thank the good lord god none of us had anything on us. so we were all arrested, and even though i turned 21 shortly thereafter, i am still being jerked around by the fucking suburban law system because of this.
and now, the general questions. we were stopped for a busted taillight (which as far as i know is not an arrestable offense), and the driver of the car blew under the legal limit (in PA, .02 is DUI for under 21), and was not legally intoxicated. but he was still arrested and the car towed.
i have doubts about the legality of that. and if in fact it’s bullshit, would that invalidate the rest? we were only breathalyzed because he had been pulled over. as soon as his thang was over with, we shoulda been free to go. does being a passenger in a car somehow waive some rights? and he breathalyzed us without proof that we were under 21, and then used a .10 result as justification for searching us. can he search without consent in that situation? he also searched the car w/o consent.
anyway, i wish i had written this back then, cuz i was REALLY angry and the story would have been a lot better. can anybody advise me as to the legalities of the situation?