On my Son's way back to K-state from spring break on Saturday he was traveling on I-70 west of Junction City; as he passed a County Sheriff's officer that was parked in the medium (speed trap location) he made eye contact with the officer. The Officer started to follow My son sometimes as close as would be considered tailgating, a short distance later ( less than 1/2 a mile) My Son pulled into a rest stop to relieve himself, The officer did not follow him. Before I continue I have to mention that he has expired out of state tags due to the lack of technological advances in the state of MN. He finished his break and noticed that the officer had pulled off into the medium. When He re-entered the interstate the officer started following him again same as before, sometimes close enough to consider tailgating distance again. After about 3/4's of a mile He came upon an exit which he took to get gas for the car. Being nervous about the officer being behind him My son crossed the right hand solid white line as he exited the interstate. The officer pulled him over. The officer asked my son if he knew why he was pulled over and My son mentioned to the officer the difficulty in getting the title from Mn and it was about the expired tag. My son, of course is pretty nervous and the officer notices this and asks Him if he could search the vehicle. He has nothing to hide so he gives his ok. My son does not keep his vehicle very clean and the Officer found an empty bottle under trash under his seat. (the bottle was from trash that fell there while he was conducting a move of personal belonging back in December) My son was given a warning for the expired tag and given a notice to appear in Geary Co. court on April 30th for a charge of transporting an open container. No alcohol test was given.
Do you know if there is any recourse outside going to trial to have the charge dismissed or put in diversion. Would it be possible to throw out the search as nothing happened to warrant a search. If the sheriff was following because of the tag he should've pulled him over while in the rest area. why wait? I think the officer coersed my son into driving over the solid white line.
1 Answer from Attorneys
It sounds like the officer suspected more wrong than was actually the case. The open container charge was to justify the prolonged stop and search. if your son consented to the search, it was not improper. Perhaps the tailgating without lights or sirens was. You might make a complaint to the department, or the KBI. It is possible that the prosecutor may agree to a non, moving violation plea. Your Son should obtain legal counsel for the ticket, and perhaps to resolve the tag issue. Let me know if you need a referral.
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