A new excuse to racial profile and conduct pretext traffic stops

A statewide, two-week “seat belt enforcement” crackdown begins on Monday, May 23, 2011 and will undoubtedly be used as a pretext to make countless stops when neither reasonable suspicion nor probable cause exists.

Why when Michigan is one of the states with the highest seat belt use do it’s residents get rewarded with multi-week enforcement crackdowns? Simple – the need to balance the state’s budget. Police officers throughout the state will rely on claims of drivers not wearing seat belts in order to justify countless stops and prosecutions for any variety of offenses and infractions.

The police claim that the once-a-year federally funded effort reminds motorists to use seat belts. Really? I highly doubt that giving out a couple thousand tickets to those who obviously know the seat belt law and chose not to use the safety restraints is going to make a vast improvement in Michigan’s already stellar usage rate.

According to the Michigan State Police, seat belt use in the state was 83.5% a decade ago. At last check, Michigan had the highest belt use in the nation at 95.2%. I’m sure this new seat belt enforcement blitz will make a huge dent in the 4.8% of people who don’t use belts. Last years enforcement period may have been counter-productive considering the rate dropped in Michigan from 97% to 95% just last year.

The only affects these enforcement periods have upon the state are increased revenue and disenfranchisement with the state’s residents. If the police department were just a little more honest about the motive for the crackdown, perhaps the police would not lose credibility during the revenue generation blitz.

If you are stopped for any reason and charged with a criminal offense or civil infraction, a Motion to Suppress or Dismiss the charges may be appropriate. Please do not hesitate to call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. for a free consultation. We will help you determine your best options and we will be able to resolve if you can avoid points, insurance premium increases, criminal liability, jail, fines or whatever you are facing. We will find a way to help you! Call us at (248) 263-6800 or click here.

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