If you are one of those people already riddled by conspiracy theories and extreme paranoia, you may want to reconsider indulging in this sleazy report about harassment tactics practiced by the American law enforcement officer -- specifically the gray area known as probable cause.
As much as it pains us to admit, all eight of these ridiculous excuses are used everyday by cops across the country, in a widely successful campaign to cleverly violate the rights of the American citizen and place them under arrest.
Remember, you never have to consent to a search of your vehicle. Keep calm, be polite and never rat yourself out. Silence is truly golden, so make the cops work for it!
Driving a Suspicious Vehicle
Those boys in the blue are more than ready to sick the dogs on any average citizen that cruises around the great American landscape in an old beater. That’s right -- for those of you that have ditched the idea of owning a monthly car payment and instead, opted to roll around the neighborhood in a classic clunker, you should be well aware, if you're not already, that rust-covered, oil-burning contraption is probable cause on wheels -- a veritable cop magnet with a hatchback!
The police are infamous for profiling people as suspected dope fiends and other unsavory culprits based on what they are driving. And while the cops cannot necessarily pull someone over just for operating a Jimtown Junker, they can, and usually will follow them around long enough to catch them in some menial act, like crossing the center line, and use that minor infraction as a reason to pull them over for a little chat.
Driving Late at Night
Although this ridiculous excuse for probable cause may be more prevalent in small towns than in larger cities, there is just something about the witching hour that gives cops a reason to suspect everyone on the road is committing a felony.
So, if you live in community where the majority of the population is off the streets and in bed by 10pm…and you just so happen to always be holding a fat sack weed, you might want reconsider taking those late night joyrides. Eventually, the cops will get you.
Busted License Plate Light
In the eyes of a bored and overzealous cop looking to bring the hammer down on a motorist who is not obviously breaking any of the rules of the road, a busted license plate light is likely one of the most ridiculous reasons an officer can give as probable cause in a traffic stop. Make no mistake about it; those sneaky coppers have absolutely no shame in regards to using such a questionable infraction as an excuse to look deeper for a better opportunity to shake you down and cart you of to jail.
Household Kitchen Items in Your Vehicle
Getting pulled over with common household items, like aluminum foil and sandwich bags, in plain sight of a suspicious traffic cop, has a tendency to produce a line of “you’re already guilty” questioning. This situation typically ends with the driver sitting in the backseat of a police cruiser while a couple of cops rip his vehicle to shreds searching for just one reason to take him to jail.
Being the Wrong Color in the Wrong Part of Town
Regardless of your race, many cops find it suspicious when someone goes cruising through a particular neck of the woods that just so happens to be shade or two lighter or darker than the natives. Marijuana is well on its way to legalization, yet racial profiling is far from over.
Bumper Sticker/Window Sticker
There is no cop alive that would ever openly admit to profiling suspected hoodlums based on the decals plastered on their vehicle, but we happen to know for a fact that they do. When a cop spots a bumper or a window sticker displaying the driver’s appreciate of bands like Pink Floyd, The Grateful Dead, or any number of tie-dyed symbols of the peace, love and the hippie movement, all they actually see is a sticky little advertisement for drug possession that says: Guess what officer? I like drugs and probably have some on me.
Out of State License Plates
This ridiculous excuse for probable cause was first detailed in a report from Matt Ironside of the Seattle Times. He wrote about how he and his wife were traveling this summer from Washington State, where marijuana is legal, into Idaho, where prosecutors will essentially hang a person by the lips and stick them with sharp objects on the courthouse lawn just for being caught with a joint.
Ironside said that somewhere just outside Pocatello, Idaho, a state police cruiser began tailing him for several miles down Interstate 86, until a slight hesitation in a lane change caused him to get pulled over. At that point, the cop began giving him the third degree: asking him if he had marijuana, had ever smoked marijuana, and even stranger, if he was familiar with the pot-friendly laws of Washington State.
Fortunately, Ironside did not have any weed in his possession, but his story serves as a cautionary tale for all of us that would have: even something as simple as an out of state license plate carries enough weight to get a person harassed and locked up.
Remnants of Fast Food
Keep your vehicle clean, kids, because police have been known to use some of those items wadded up in the floorboard of your vehicle, sometimes referred to as the fast food graveyard, as a justifiable excuse for probable cause. This is a place where anything goes; where probable cause can literally become anything, like a french fry stuck in between the console and the passenger seat supposedly mistaken for a joint.
Don’t laugh folks -- the french fry scenario is apparently common practice in Indiana.