Q: How long can police follow someone in MN after they notice a violation but before they actually pull you over?
Recently my wife was pulled over for "yielding" through a stop sign when making a right-turn at a 3-way stop (the cross street has a yield so she assumed the same). She said, however, that the cop didn't flash his lights / blare the siren until she was a few miles down the road (she says about 4 miles past the 3-way). Can police "sit" on a violation - waiting for you to make a worse one perhaps - and pull you over whenever they want, or do they have a limit as to how far they can follow you after you've made a driving violation before they must pull you over for that offense?
A: Nothing obligates the officer to pull someone over immediately. An offer just needs reasonable articulable suspicion to effectuate a traffic stop.
A: As a general rule, if anyone can do it so can police. In other words, if anyone can lawfully drive down the road behind another motor vehicle, police officers can too. In that circumstance they would not exercising any special police powers granted them by law. Police can lawfully follow a car, observe a violation of law, and then continue to follow without initiating a traffic stop, ever, or for some time. By doing so, the police officer might observe more than one violation, which would make their eventual traffic stop stronger (in the eyes of a judge) against attack by a defense lawyer like me. Even though that issue is unlikely to be a defense winner, keep thinking about potential defenses. And - call a criminal defense lawyer to discuss.
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