Lawfully, a police officer is not supposed to pull a driver over for no reason. It's very easy, however, for police officers to come up with an excuse for pulling a driver over when in fact he or she may have hidden motives. For years, police officers across the country have been accused of engaging in racial profiling, age discrimination and general stereotyping when pulling over drivers for seemingly no reason.
Recently, Colorado residents, who drive outside the state, have reported being targeted by police officers in so-called marijuana profiling traffic stops. These stops are conducted solely because a driver has a Colorado license plate and are often harassing and, in some cases, illegal.
A retired Colorado couple was recently driving to Florida where they planned to spend part of the winter. While traveling through one state, the 71-year-old man and his 65-year-old wife encountered two police cars that were stopped along the right shoulder of the highway. As the 71-year-old driver moved his car over to the left lane, he noticed one of the police cars was following him with its lights flashing.
Upon pulling over, the police officer informed the man he'd changed lanes too slowly. The officer then informed the man that drug sniffing dogs were going to search the outside of the couple's vehicle. One dog seemed interested in the car's gas tank so both the man and his wife were asked to exit their vehicle. Police officers then informed the couple that they needed to search the entire vehicle and go through the couple’s luggage.
As the man and woman waited for the search to be complete, officers separated them and asked both a serious of questions related to their drug use and any involvement in the trafficking of marijuana. The retirees were told they "fit the profile" of drug runners. No drugs were found in the couple's vehicle and they were allowed to continue their journey.
Colorado residents, who are stopped while driving in another state for no reason and harassed by police officers, have rights. A police officer must obtain consent prior to being able to search an individual's car or person. When facing potential drug charges, Colorado residents are advised to secure a criminal defense attorney who can provide advice and work to determine if law enforcement officials are guilty of unlawful search and seizure.
Source: Al.com, "Colorado couple claims 'marijuana profiling' prompted traffic stop on Alabama highway," Kelsey Stein, April 9, 2014Denver Westword Blogs, "Pot profiling: Do Alabama cops think everyone from Colorado looks like a drug smuggler?," Michael Roberts, April 7, 2014