Arrested...charges dismissed later


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I've only been pulled over once after getting my CPL. It was New Years Eve and I just KNEW there would be cops everywhere. I must have driven past 20 cops or more that night. I wasn't carrying anything at the time and I always abstain from drinking if I'm going to drive. However, one county sheriff deputy pulled me over after following me for about four miles. After pulling me over and getting my driver's license, he interrupted me while I got my insurance card and said, "Put it down and step out of the car."
I said, "What?"
Response: "Put it down...and step out of the car."
"Yes sir."
"You're under arrest for driving on a suspended license."
"Any weapons in the car?"
"Anything in your pockets that could poke me/cut me?"
"No, but there is a .44 special casing in my left pocket."
Then, he gave me a pat-down search.
"Where's that from?"
"It's left-over from going to the range. I always keep my brass."
"What kind of gun?"
"Ruger Redhawk in .44 magnum."
"Oh, I have a Super Redhawk in the same caliber. Wait here. I'll be right back." (He puts me in cuffs behind my back and sets me in his cruiser. Uncomfortable, but the seats have cut-outs for your arms behind your back.)
Even after I answered no about weapons in the car, he still searched my car and my backpack that was in the car. A second deputy arrived later. He also inspected my car and it's contents.(That still irks me.)
The original deputy came back and asked if anyone could come drive me back. Thankfully I had just dropped someone home from a New Year's party and had several friends within driving distance that were sober(we're not huge party animals). So he let me call my friends and they came and dropped off a driver for me.

During this time he asked me if I had any tickets that I hadn't paid, or other unresolved issues. I told him about a speeding ticket I had dealt with in September and had that completely resolved. He nodded and asked me if there was anything else, to which I responded "No, that's the last thing I did. The court dismissed it and that was that." (BTW, this is what makes me understand that "Don't Talk to the Cops" video. Had I remembered/admitted to that ticket, it would have stepped up my charges and made my case something that could not be dismissed. Please take head and watch that video set.)

Thankfully, I did not remember a ticket that I had apparently forgotten from February the year before. They had suspended my license in May, but never notified me. Even the cop that pulled me over in September didn't tell me about my suspended license. Had he done so, I could have taken care of it all before dealing with this whole incident. Anyway...

He also said that if I got the original ticket taken care of then the charges would be dismissed. It wasn't quite as easy as he made it sound, but the prosecutor did ask that the charges be dropped and the judge agreed. The court case took all of sixty seconds and I was outta there.

All's well that ends well, but I certainly wish the state did a better job at telling us what's going on before we get someone telling us we're under arrest and toss us in the back of a police cruiser.

He called it a CPL and the only state I've been to that uses that acronym is Washington.

So that's my guess.
Not unusual

I work in a treatment center and this type of thing happens all the time - at least a dozen a month in my little world. I used to teach DWI classes. One of the things we did was send a report of completion/attendance to the probation officer and DMV - With one state, I faxed the same report nine times. Finally called the individual and had him go and stand by the machine and watch for my report to come through.

What can I say, it's the government.
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Xader is correct. I'm in Washington state.
VN6869 is also correct. Yes, he said he pulled me over after running the plates and found the suspension in the records.
Search subsequent to arrest is normal SOP, and probably the second-most common of the 10 exceptions to the Search Warrant rule. (Consent is generally the 1st - people just freely surrender their rights at the request of LEO. It's crazy how common that is.)

Also, that search subsequent to arrest is supposed to be extremely thorough - and had the LEO opted to have your car impounded, he'd be required to search and note all contents, even the trunk.

Glad it worked out in your favor.
The search of my car did not damage any of my personal belongings, nor did they make the car a complete mess. It did bug me because I know I'm not breaking any laws(other than the one I unknowingly broke), nor do I do drugs or drink and drive. I know that the officers don't know that, so I can understand why they did the search. Considering the timing, it was probably for things like open alcohol containers and also looking for a gun.
After an arrest, the search that follows is simply procedure more than "looking for" anything.

Obviously, after the arrest IF they were to find something else, you'd likely face more charges.

Search subsequent to arrest is really just the officer doing his/her job, and it's a good thing nothing was damaged or otherwise trashed. That's one of the CYA reasons they do this search in the first place... so three days later at the impound lot the person just released from custody cannot accuse the officer of stealing and/or breaking property - because it's all already been recorded, including condition.

Again, I'm glad it worked out for you and that for the most part the cop that stopped you was a pro-gun type.

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