When the police stop you as part of a routine traffic stop, they must verify your identity and whether you are a dangerous person. The police do this by running your driver’s license and plates through the officer’s computer. Private information is kept stored in several databases that the police may have access to. Depending on what the police find, you could be in more trouble than you think.
When the police run your driver’s license or the plates on your vehicle, they have access to personal identifying information. The police need to know who is driving the car, whether they own it, and whether they are wanted for any crime. Arrest warrants, old traffic citations, and any license restrictions will come up in the search. If you have something to hide, the police will likely find it when they run your license.
If the police stopped you, they likely ran your tags and driver’s license. You may even have been arrested based on the information that came up. Call our Utah criminal defense lawyers for help. We can do a free case review and discuss your case at Overson Law, PLLC. Call our offices at (801) 758-2287.
What Can the Police Find When Running Your License in Utah?
When running a driver’s license or plates in Utah, the police have almost instant access to all kinds of information about you. This information is compiled by public or government entities, like the DMV, law enforcement, and other groups and made available as part of large databases. If you were arrested after a routine traffic stop, call our Utah motor vehicle crimes defense lawyers immediately.
First and foremost, the police need to verify exactly who you are. While you might be a perfectly nice person, not everybody is. The police take a huge risk when they pull drivers over because they never know if they are getting a nice person like you or a dangerous criminal. They also can get information about the car you are driving and who owns it. Sometimes, the driver in the car does not match the car’s owner, which might arouse police suspicion.
Some of this information could get you in trouble. The police can tell if your registration is expired and issue citations. They can also see the status of your driver’s license. If you are driving on a suspended or revoked license, the police will know immediately. They may also know why your license was suspended, such as for a DUI or too many points on your license.
If you are wanted for arrest in Utah, your arrest warrants will also appear when the police run your license. Many of these warrants are bench warrants and mean that the driver missed a court date. In some cases though, the driver is a wanted, dangerous criminal. In either case, you can be arrested and your car towed away and impounded.
When Can the Police Run Your License in Utah?
In recent years, there has been some debate over when and where the police can run your personal information, like license plates and driver’s licenses, through their databases. The answers to these questions differ based on what the police are checking. In general, the police can run your license tag on your vehicle anytime they want. However, they must be engaged in an active investigation to run your driver’s license.
The police may run your license plates anytime they wish without even stopping you first. Your license plates are visible from the outside of your vehicle. They are made to be in plain view, and it is an offense to try to obscure your plates. Since you have no legal expectation of privacy in your license plates, the police are free to take this information and run it through their computers at any time. Sometimes, the police will sit alongside the road and run plates if they have a slow day. If the plates come back as being registered to a driver with a suspended license, the police might stop you and issue you a ticket.
The police may also run your driver’s license to get more information about you, but this is only possible if they have a valid reason to stop you. The police cannot access databases from your driver’s license unless they are actively engaged in an investigation. Running your license “just because” would be a Fourth Amendment violation. If you believe your license was run without due cause, talk to our Park City criminal defense attorneys.
Can I Be Arrested After the Police Run My License in Utah?
In short, you can absolutely be arrested after the police run your license or plates. There is a lot of information the police have access to when they run your license through their computer. While most of it is fairly innocuous, like your name and address, some might be incriminating.
If you have any warrants out in your name, you will be arrested. This includes bench warrants or warrants related to ongoing criminal investigations. Bench warrants also do not expire. People have been known to be arrested for bench warrants that are many years old. You can even be arrested for warrants issued in other states. In those cases, you will not only be arrested but also possibly extradited to the issuing state.
If you are arrested, you should contact our Riverton criminal defense lawyers immediately. The police might take you in and question you regarding any warrants or a criminal investigation. You should invoke your rights to remain silent and have a lawyer present and call us right away.
Call Our Utah Motor Vehicle Crimes Defense Lawyers
If you were arrested after being pulled over, it is possibly because of what the police saw when they ran your license. Call our Ogden criminal defense lawyers right away for help. Our staff at Overson Law, PLLC can perform a free case review to assess your options. Call (801) 758-2287 for assistance.