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Can you blame your traffic stop on predictive profiling?

While the United States is demographically diverse, members of our country’s many different communities receive differential treatment. Unemployment, poverty and crime are higher in some communities versus others. These realities often leave law enforcement officers engaging in predictive profiling or running target patrols among certain racial or ethnic groups or in certain areas over others.

How do police decide who to profile?

Law enforcement officers rely upon their analysis of crime statistics to forecast where to conduct predictive profiling. They use that data and mental and physical profiles, including age, behavior, dress, ethnicity and gender, to forecast who’s likely to commit a future criminal act.

What are some ways that police profile motorists?

Stops for alleged traffic violations are among the most common ways the average person ends up interacting with police. Law enforcement officers must generally have a valid reason for pulling a vehicle over, whether they observe a traffic infraction, note that a car has an expired license plate, or track a car that someone reported as stolen. Sadly, some officers rely on racial profiling to decide who to pull over then accuse them of a fabricated traffic infraction.  

Driving an older vehicle or one that doesn’t seem to “fit the driver” might get you pulled over by the police. Keep in mind that many jurisdictions’ laws allow a law enforcement officer to ask all vehicle occupants for identification and question them during a stop.

Can profiling lead to a search of your car?

Police can observe anything in their plain view when they pull you over but cannot search your vehicle without your consent unless they have probable cause. Any drug paraphernalia or weapons within their view will likely be enough to meet this standard. So too will any instance in which a drug-sniffing dog alerts to the presence of narcotics. Police can search your vehicle and anyone in it without needing to request your prior consent in either one of these instances.

While most police officers have valid reasons for pulling motorists over, there are certain areas where predictive profiling is more likely the reason why these stops occur. A traffic violations attorney will want to know more about the events preceding your stop before advising you of the rights that both Georgia and federal law affords you in your Cumming case. 

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