Can A Broken Taillight Lead To An Arrest?
It’s 2023, and everyone is busy. With the costs of necessities skyrocketing, everyone is living paycheck to paycheck, whether they have salaried jobs supplemented by gigs or are full-time participants in the gig economy. The laid back days of the pandemic, when there was nothing to do but binge watch TV shows and wait for better days, are over; in those days, running errands felt like a treat. Waiting in line at the DMV was the highlight of your week. These days, you don’t have any free time at all, between your job and your other job. Things like renewing your vehicle registration will just have to wait. For a while, Pittsburgh police reduced the number of traffic stops they conducted, saving their energy for stopping truly dangerous driving behaviors and investigating more serious crimes. This month, Acting Police Chief Thomas Stangrecki announced that police may resume traffic stops for minor infractions. If your legal troubles began with a traffic stop, contact a Pittsburgh traffic violations lawyer.
Do Traffic Stops for Minor Infractions Help Police Officers Fight Crime?
Getting a traffic ticket is annoying, especially if you are already on a tight schedule or a tight budget. Interactions between police officers and worried or stressed out can go from bad to worse, leading to criminal charges for resisting an officer, or in the worst cases, to violence and police brutality. To prevent this problem, police in some jurisdictions limit the reasons for which they signal for drivers to pull over, even in cases where a driver broke a traffic law, as long as the driver was not directly endangering other people. Likewise, the effort that police spend issuing traffic citations could be better spent preventing and investigating more serious crimes.
In the News
In the spring of 2021, Pittsburgh issued a city ordinance that forbade police officers from implementing traffic stops for minor violations of traffic laws. The purpose of this ordinance was to prevent confrontations between law enforcement in the public, in other words to avoid traffic stops that would cause crimes instead of preventing them. The ordinance included minor vehicle defects that do not constitute major safety hazards, such as a broken headlight or taillight, as reasons for which police were not supposed to stop drivers. Meanwhile, the city kept postponing the training sessions where the officers would learn about the new rules they were to follow regarding traffic stops. If an officer stopped a motorist for a more major violation (such as suspicion of drunk driving), the officer could still issue citations for broken taillights and similar infractions, if applicable. In early 2023, the Pittsburgh Police Department announced that police would go back to the old rules for traffic stops, from before the 2021 ordinance.
Contact Gary E. Gerson About Traffic Infractions Defense Cases
A criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are being accused of traffic infractions, even if your case goes to traffic court instead of criminal court. Contact the law offices of Gary E. Gerson in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania about your case.