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Peace and Prosperity

Oregon Supreme Court Limits Police Actions at Traffic Stops


When police stop vehicles for purported driving rules infractions, police will often take advantage of the situation to inquire about other matters in a “fishing expedition” to establish suspicion of unrelated lawbreaking. They also may ask drivers for permission to search the stopped vehicles. This can end up badly for drivers and other vehicle occupants, especially those who do not adhere to the basic self-protections rules of saying as little as possible to cops and refusing permission for searches.

Some good news came this month for drivers and passengers in Oregon. In its decision for the case Oregon v. Arreola-Botello, the Oregon Supreme Court placed restraints on cops taking such actions during traffic stops, stating that “an officer is limited to investigatory inquiries that are reasonably related to the purpose of the traffic stop or that have an independent constitutional justification." On Monday at Reason, Jacob Sullum provided some details regarding the case and discussed implications of the court’s decision. Read his article here.

Before you encounter a nosey cop on the road or elsewhere, it may be helpful to explore the value of not talking to police and not giving them permission to search your vehicle or other property. This lecture by Regent University School of Law Professor James Duane Is a good place to start that exploration:


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