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License plate readers
By Jeff Terrill
Fort Wayne Reader
Law enforcement agencies are using license plate readers to catch violators. The devices are mounted to the outside of police cars and can scan hundreds of license plates in a minute. Police officers are using this technology to identify stolen vehicles or plates, drivers with outstanding warrants or suspended licenses, and other areas of interest. More and more squad cars are being equipped with the camera-based technology, which will lead to even more traffic stops.
Meet the Smith family. Mr. and Mrs. Smith reside with their three children and Mrs. Smith’s brother, John, who is visiting from out of town for a few days. The oldest child, Mike, is nineteen and a freshman at a local college. People often comment that Mike looks a lot like his uncle John. The other two kids are in high school. I made up all of these people. They aren’t real.
Earlier this week, the car that Mike usually drives stops running. Mr. Smith thinks the starter is bad. Uncle John lends his car to Mike for the day. Mike drives the car to his college classes in the morning, swings by his parents’ business to work a few hours and then heads out to drive his little sister and brother to their activities.
On his way to pick up his sister, Mike notices that he’s being followed by a police car. As he approached his sister’s school, the officer activates the emergency lights and siren. Mike pulls over in front of the same high school from where he graduated last year.
The officer orders Mike out of the car and walks him to the front of the squad car. Mike explains that he’s driving his uncle’s car. Mike hands the officer his driver’s license. Another police car arrives on the scene. Mike sees familiar faces driving by as they leave school for the day. Some people even honk and yell Mike’s name as they pass. Mike is embarrassed, confused and afraid.
The officer explains that he pulled him over because his license plate reader alerted him that the vehicle’s owner has a suspended license. The officer mentions that his uncle’s license is suspended for failure to pay a traffic ticket. The officer hands back Mike’s driver’s license and tells him he’s free to leave.
Mike drives into the high school parking lot where he sees his sister waiting. She gets in the car.
Mike explains to her that he might get pulled over by the police because Uncle John’s driver’s license is suspended. She tells Mike that makes no sense and asks, “Why would you get pulled over just because Uncle John has a suspended driver’s license?”
Mike has no answer.
Jeff Terrill is a partner/shareholder with the law firm of Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. Mr. Terrill represents clients accused of crimes throughout northeast Indiana. You can contact Mr. Terrill with any questions or comments at his office at 260.420.7777 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about his firm at www.fortwaynedefense.com. This article expressed opinions and observations of the author, is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. Please consult a qualified attorney with any legal questions or issues you might have. Thank you