Navigating the Nuances of License Plates Scanning
Although roads are generally for public use, driving a car is more of a privilege than a right. This means that drivers must abide by the law and not commit traffic violations to be able to continue using the road to operate a motor vehicle. License plate checks are one of the ways police officers can ensure that only those who have complied with traffic laws are on the road.
But are the police legally allowed to run your license? The short answer is yes. License plate scanning is not violative of your fundamental rights as long as they are done within the bounds allowed by law.
In this article, we discuss automated license plate readers, your rights as a road user, and the limitations of the power of law enforcement agencies when it comes to searches and seizures. We also briefly discuss how a personal injury attorney can help you when you get in an accident with a driver found to have committed traffic violations.
Reasons Why Police Run Your License Plates
Generally, police should run license plates to help them solve crimes. Here are some reasons police officers would want to run your license plates.
- You have a traffic violation: If you committed a traffic violation and were stopped, the law enforcement officer can run your license plates. They can then pull you over and ask for your license. They can arrest you if they find out that you are driving on a suspended license.
- To look for a stolen car: The police can run license plates to find stolen vehicles. Once they find that a stolen car has just passed, they can take the necessary steps and go after the culprits.
- To look for outstanding warrants: Running plates could show that the car or its registered owner has a search warrant or arrest warrant that must be served. The police officer running the plate can then take hold of the person who is the subject of a criminal investigation.
- To ensure safety and compliance: Cars are required to have a valid auto insurance policy at all times; otherwise, they’d be violating traffic and compliance laws. The police are authorized to scan license plates to ensure that all cars on the road are insured.
- To verify a suspicious activity: If the car’s occupants are acting unusually, it can make the police curious. They can then scan the license plate and get details on the registered owner and the car.
In Michigan, police officers can access private information about you through the Law Enforcement Information Network or LEIN. This means they don’t need to pull over motorists just to check their compliance. They only use their computer inside their police cars to verify your insurance status and details.
Michigan auto insurance companies are mandated to report the vehicles they insure to the Secretary of State every 14 days.
Information the Police See When They Run Your Plates
- Vehicle information: The license plate information includes your car’s make and model, color, and year. This helps law enforcers see if the car’s physical attributes match those those on file.
- Vehicle’s registered owner: The name of the owner based on the vehicle’s registration is reflected in the database.
- Vehicle’s registration status: Your car must be properly registered, and your registration must be updated yearly. If your car registration is out-of-date, law enforcers can pull you over.
- Outstanding warrants: If the car is subject to an outstanding search warrant, the police officer would see it in the database. They may pull you over and search the car if the warrant provides for such power.
- Tags for stolen vehicles: The police would know if the license plate belongs to a car that has been reported stolen. They can pull you over based on this reasonable suspicion.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Did you get injured while being uninsured? In Michigan, you must have valid no-fault insurance coverage before operating your car. It is also important that you carry a physical copy of your insurance with you.
Michigan is a no-fault state. This means that you can claim damages from your insurance company regardless if you were at fault or not.
If you got injured while being uninsured, you should speak with a personal injury attorney ASAP. For being uninsured, you can suffer any of the following consequences:
- Jail time and fine
- Suspension of driver’s license
- Suspension of renewal of the licensed plates
- You may be unable to sue the at-fault driver even if you are not at fault.
- You have to pay the other driver’s medical expenses out-of-pocket.
- You may not be reimbursed for your lost wages.
- You have to pay your own medical bills.
- You have to pay for your vehicular damages.
- You may not be able to claim for pain and suffering from the at-fault driver.
- You could be held liable for damages incurred by the other driver.
What Should You Do If You Are Involved in a Hit-and-Run Accident?
It’s hard to be aware of anything else other than your injury and trauma, especially when you get hit by a driver who flees from the accident scene. If you find yourself injured in a hit-and-run accident, consider doing the following:
- Call 911 and get medical help immediately.
- Take pictures of the fleeing car, especially the their license plate number.
- Take pictures and videos of the accident scene.
- Look for CCTV cameras that may be available and ask to get a copy of the recorded accident.
- Ask for the names, contact information, and statements of the witnesses.
- Call the police officers so they can document the accident in a police report.
Get a Free Consultation with a Car Accident Attorney at The Clark Law Office.
A personal injury attorney can help you if you get injured in a car accident. This is even more true if the car that hit you fled the accident. The Clark Law Office can provide you with a free case review. We can check your documents, speak with the police, and investigate your case further.
We have experience coordinating with Michigan law enforcement officers to run license plate numbers and identify drivers at fault. Contact our experienced car accident lawyer today for assistance with a timely license search.