An effective criminal defense attorney must know the impact of the law on everyday events. For instance, what does the law have to say when a police officer stops your motor vehicle? Does he have a right to ask you for your license and registration? What if the officer decides to ask you additional questions? What if the officer tells you to exit your car? What if the officer searches your car?
In Massachusetts, the law does not allow a police officer to go on an unsubstantiated fishing expedition. In a 2008 Supreme Judicial Court decision, the Court held that
- “A routine traffic stop…presents a situation where citizens, both the vehicle’s driver and any passenger or passengers in the vehicle, expect a police officer to get the government’s business done quickly, so those detained can go on their way.” (663).
- “Citizens do not expect that police officers handling a routine traffic violation will engage, in the absence of justification, in stalling tactics, obfuscation, strained conversation, or unjustified exit orders, to prolong the seizure in the hope that, sooner or later, the stop might yield up some evidence of an arrestable crime.” (663).
- “[O]nce a stopped driver has produced the necessary papers and they are found to be in order, he and his passengers are to be promptly released[.]” (668).
Commonwealth v. Gonsalves, 429 Mass. 658, 663, 668 (1999).
If you or a loved one has a criminal case that resulted from a car stop, do not hesitate to contact one of the experienced Worcester Criminal Defense Attorneys at Murphy & Rudolf, LLP. Car stop analysis can be difficult and requires expertise in this specific area of the law. For a free consultation with an attorney at Murphy & Rudolf, LLP, please call 508 425 6330.