This question is about a fake identification more so than a DUI/DWI, but I couldn't find the right topic. Anyway, I got pulled over yesterday evening when I did nothing wrong. The cop asked me for my license and registration and I handed it to him. The cops told me someone called in saying I cut them off, so the cops seemed to be waiting for me to drive and then pull me over. I asked them if I could know what exactly I did wrong, where, and when. They told me again that someone said I cut them off, but they could not answer when and their answer to where it happened wasn't clear, they gave a very general area. The officer then asked if I had been under the influence of anything, I said no. He asked me to step out of the vehicle so I did. He then had his fellow officer administer a field sobriety test, involving looking at a pen go back and forth without moving, balancing on one foot, and stepping one foot over the other 9 times and then back. I passed with flying colors, and I could tell it upset the cops a bit. While one officer was administering the test on me, the other officer was questioning my friends about drugs/alcohol and whatnot. He eventually searched my car very thoroughly and found nothing except for a bag that smelled like marijuana but had none in it and my friends tobacco rolling papers. The officer then proceeded to search my wallet without my permission (I didn't give him permission to look through my car, although the smell of marijuana might have been probable cause, I don't know). He also looked through all of my friends' wallets (5 other than myself, 4 guys, 1 girl). The girl didn't have identification so they didn't search her. They found a fake id on me as well as a fake id on my friend, and the tobacco rolling papers on my other friend. I was charged with possession of a fake id, but I feel like the police officers must have done something wrong. Everything I said is 100% how it went down. Can the officer search my car without my permission? Can the officer search my wallet without my permission? Did the officer have any reason to pull me over in the first place and were they withholding any information from me? I just felt the whole process was shady because I was completely sober and there was nothing illegal going on except the fake id's.
3 Answers from Attorneys
An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you evaluate the prosecution's case, any defenses that you might have, and any plea offer that might be made, so that you can decide whether to go to trial. Consider seeking a confidential consultation.
If they had no reasonable articulable suspicion to stop you, it's a bad traffic stop and we move to suppress all the evidence. If there's no probable cause or valid consent to search the car, we also move to suppress. All of this is basic 4th amendment law, but there's a lot more to it and I need to talk to your witnesses. And since this citation could really screw you up in the future, you should definitely get a lawyer to do as much as possible to make sure this gets dismissed. I can meet you at my office in Rockville or at Starbucks in Gaithersburg if that's more convenient. Give me a call or email anytime for a more detailed free consultation conversation.
The police lie, and so whether there was a report of your erratic driving, or not, is a fact question. The answer to that question drives the issue of whether there was an articulable suspicion to pull you over and search, and whether a suppression motion would be granted as to the fake identification found during the search. Remember, you are entitled to all the "due process of law" that you can afford.