Traffic Offenses

Iowa law enforcement will stop out-of-state cars for various traffic violations.  Usually this occurs as pretextual stops.  Most courts don’t recognize pretextual stops as illegal or unconstitutional, so be prepared if you are stopped for a traffic violation the officer want to “look” in your car.  Important:  The term “look” to you means looking through the windows maybe; to him, it means tearing your care apart inside and out.  He is not asking you to “look” in your car as you understand it, he is asking you for permission to “search your” car as he understands it.

The usual violations for which out-of-state vehicles are pulled over are speeding (any amount), seat belt violations, tinted windows, license plate brackets that cover any of the license plate wording or numerals.  The usual practice is to write the ticket, often a warning, tell you you are free to go, and when you about ready to enter your car, ask if he can look in your car.  Say NO!

Do not say yes out of fear.  The first reaction is if I don’t say yes, he will get mad.  So he gets mad.  Getting mad doesn’t put you in jail-a search might.  If your girlfriend’s prescription drugs are still in the console where she left them; or you forgot your marijuana pipe sitting in the door pocket from last week; and the trooper finds it, you are going to jail.  Just say NO!


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