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  1. #1
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    Default Police Officer Takes Keys from Designated Driver While at the Beach

    My question involves police conduct in the State of: California.
    Last weekend my GF and best friend went to the beach and I decided to be the designated driver and not drink that day. While at the Beach my GF and friend started drinking out of blue party cups within 2 hours of being there we get raided from all sides by Sheriff officers in ATV's. They immediately approached me and asked for my ID and I stated that it was inside my vehicle with our clothes. The officer said I was getting a ticket for drinking in public; (which i was not) my GF and friend were. I told the officer that I was not drinking he then demanded I give him my keys for my vehicle, and that I sit on the floor. I asked him for what purpose and he said he needed to retrieve our ID's, I offer to go with him and tell him exactly were they were. He then got in my face with a hostile demeanor and tone and told me to sit down. I then gave him my keys; and then he proceeded to search my vehicle up and down and since I had open containers in my vehicle I would be charge and cited, I told him that the cans were inside a bag with soda cans and gatorade bottles and they were for recycling purposes, plus they were in the back floor seats and some in the trunk. He said that he found them in the front seats and floor. That is when I told him that that was the reason I did not want him to search my car without me being there. The commanding officer was now present and only made eye contact with his officer and they left me alone. My question is this was it legal for the officer to take my keys and search my vehicle without my permission? and can I file a complaint against the officer for his unprofessional behaviour and conduct, not to mentioned his attempt to accuse me of having open alcoholic containers?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Police Officer Takes Keys from Designated Driver While at the Beach

    Yes, you can file a complaint, and yes you would seem to have a reasonable claim in a motion to suppress the evidence found in the car.

    If you were not in or about the vehicle, he really had no right to enter without your permission. However, he could have played it differently and opted to arrest you since without ID he could not verify your ID and thus release you with a ticket. By threatening that arrest he could have essentially compelled you to allow entry to the car for the limited purpose of seeking the ID (and if the contraband was in plain view it would be discovered).

    But, from what you write, he did it the wrong way and likely lost any chance to get any evidence of the alcohol in the car admitted against you.

    And as a note, they do not ever have to let you stand around at the car when they search it. Of course, you could always refuse to grant consent.

    There is also a chance that if this goes to trial the officers will claim that you gave consent when you "gave" the officers the keys. You might want to engage a defense attorney, though it might be far more expensive than the citation itself, so this is going to involve some serious introspection on your part ... is it worth the expense? Or, is it something that is worth the principle?

    Good luck.

    Oh, and next time, do your drinking - or accompany7 your friends when they are drinking - at home.
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  3. #3

    Default Re: Police Officer Takes Keys from Designated Driver While at the Beach

    It sounds like you are dealing with a policeman who lies. You at least need a lawyer to explain what kind of a criminal record the charges against you will cause if you plead guilty.

    There is probably no point in filing a complaint with the police department. The policeman lies and his supervisors certainly know that by now and approve. The most likely outcome of filing a complaint is that the police department will proceed to investigate you for "lying" on the complaint.

    I am not sure how much fighting the criminal charges will help. Unless there is some audio from one of the police vehicles, or a witness, you know that this policeman will simply lie. He will say that you gave consent to search, and he will say that the empties were "wherever-they-needed-to-be" for a charge and he will further say that they had however much alcohol in them that they needed to have for a charge. He may even have written in his report that the hood was warm, if that will help stack the charges and penalties. Remember, if the policeman tells one lie, then that means the policeman is willing to tell as many lies as it takes to make you suffer as much as he can.

    BOTTOM LINE: see what the long range consequences of the charge are for your future prospects from a local criminal defense lawyer, and then decide your budget for fighting based on that. Do it now. The police destroy audio very quickly when it is bad for them, so you are in a race against the clock.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Police Officer Takes Keys from Designated Driver While at the Beach

    Quote Quoting Clenville Tziabatz
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    It sounds like you are dealing with a policeman who lies.
    Of course.

    There is probably no point in filing a complaint with the police department. The policeman lies and his supervisors certainly know that by now and approve. The most likely outcome of filing a complaint is that the police department will proceed to investigate you for "lying" on the complaint.
    Bull, and, bull.

    An agency that has an officer who is not doing their job properly for whatever reason, generally wants to know about it. If it is an issue of training, that can and should be addressed. It is a matter of poor attitude, that, too, can and should be addressed.

    In this case the officer probably erred and he should have known better. Whether he knew he had exceeded his authority is something we cannot possibly know. And there may be another side fo the tale we are not aware of that might justify his actions.

    I am not sure how much fighting the criminal charges will help.
    NOT fighting them has an inevitable consequence. And depending on the OP's age and the specific offense charged, it might also have an effect on his diver;s license.

    Unless there is some audio from one of the police vehicles, or a witness, you know that this policeman will simply lie. He will say that you gave consent to search, and he will say that the empties were "wherever-they-needed-to-be" for a charge and he will further say that they had however much alcohol in them that they needed to have for a charge.
    Yes, of course ... the cps lie all the time.

    Holy smokes, where do you live that you have such a cynical take on things!?
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  5. #5

    Default Re: Police Officer Takes Keys from Designated Driver While at the Beach

    The policeman said that the cans were in the backseat. The policeman said they were in the front seat. There is at least one lie there. Maybe some policemen don't lie, but we know from the OP's post that he is dealing with one who does. It doesn't mean that all policemen lie, but just that the one that this thread deals with is a liar. Sad for the OP, but, like you said, he is the one who chose to aid and abet drinking on the beach, so the policeman's job is to get him punished. Whatever it takes.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Police Officer Takes Keys from Designated Driver While at the Beach

    Quote Quoting Clenville Tziabatz
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    the policeman's job is to get him punished. Whatever it takes.
    Not true at all. At least ion CA we do not get paid a bonus for each arrest.

    The OP says the cans were in the back, but were they? I have had people insist to me that something was somewhere other than where I found it. Sometimes people are wrong.

    I do not condone lying or falsifying evidence. But, your posts on the general roguish nature of the police indicate a belief that is unsupported by any objective data that I am aware of. I am sorry if your world view is such that you have experienced this sort of behavior, but it is hardly indicative of law enforcement on the whole and certainly not something that is condoned within the greater law enforcement community.
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  7. #7

    Default Re: Police Officer Takes Keys from Designated Driver While at the Beach

    Honestly cdw, I live in an area where this kind of behavior has been going on for a loooong time, and only recently have things started to change. We have a judge who toked (yet sentenced those that were impaired), several cops who were released without PBT's (despite video and witness evidence that he was impaired AND had officers called for assault the same night he wriecked his vehicle) and several officers released (finally) from duty for covering for a fellow officer or sexual assault of females in the jail. We've had two fired for going after teens with no reason, pulling over vehicles on false pretenses, and harrassment (calling ahead to another officer to pull over someone for same offense they were just ticketed on... headlight out). We've had cops that were poaching while on duty relocated to a northern district with only one day in jail. The list goes on.

    I'm NOT saying that there aren't a LOT of good cops out there, just that in some area's it takes time to get the bad ones out.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Police Officer Takes Keys from Designated Driver While at the Beach

    Quote Quoting mamabear2102003
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    Honestly cdw, I live in an area where this kind of behavior has been going on for a loooong time, and only recently have things started to change. We have a judge who toked (yet sentenced those that were impaired), several cops who were released without PBT's (despite video and witness evidence that he was impaired AND had officers called for assault the same night he wriecked his vehicle) and several officers released (finally) from duty for covering for a fellow officer or sexual assault of females in the jail. We've had two fired for going after teens with no reason, pulling over vehicles on false pretenses, and harrassment (calling ahead to another officer to pull over someone for same offense they were just ticketed on... headlight out). We've had cops that were poaching while on duty relocated to a northern district with only one day in jail. The list goes on.

    I'm NOT saying that there aren't a LOT of good cops out there, just that in some area's it takes time to get the bad ones out.
    I'm not saying that everywhere is perfect and goodness and light, but to imply that all cops everywhere behave as a small number of cops in some isolated hole do is disingenuous and irresponsible. If it is anecdotal experience, it should be mentioned as such when posted. To make a blanket statement that cops are just going to lie to make something up is simply not true to say about law enforcement as a whole, even if we are claiming it applies to "only" less than half of them.
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  9. #9

    Default Re: Police Officer Takes Keys from Designated Driver While at the Beach

    I didn't mean to imply that this pertained to a large percentage, or officers as a whole. It only takes a few of the bad to taint the whole. If it weren't for those that were upright and went above and beyond, I probably wouldn't be here today. I was only trying to point out that there are some out there that are less than honest, and that have found a way to get 'covered' by brothers.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Police Officer Takes Keys from Designated Driver While at the Beach

    Quote Quoting mamabear2102003
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    I didn't mean to imply that this pertained to a large percentage, or officers as a whole. It only takes a few of the bad to taint the whole. If it weren't for those that were upright and went above and beyond, I probably wouldn't be here today. I was only trying to point out that there are some out there that are less than honest, and that have found a way to get 'covered' by brothers.
    The whole "blue wall of silence" thing has disintegrated to a great degree in the nearly 20 years I have been at this. It started crumbling a couple decades ago, and now is a shadow of what it once was. Does it still exist? Sure. Are officers more likely to give their peers the benefit of the doubt in an accusation? Absolutely. It is human nature ... just ask family members of killers or molester is they believe their family member or friend is capable of such a heinous crime. Human nature is what it is.

    You are right, though, that all it takes is the actions of one officer or a small group to taint the whole. The Rodney King incident is an example of that as is the whole Rampart scandal (which was blown WAAY out of proportion in the press). One bad seed can undo a decade worth of good will overnight. Where I have worked I have been fortunate enough to be with agencies that have had the overwhelming support of their communities. It is not difficult to do because people WANT to believe and trust the cops. But, no matter how good 90% of the officers might do, all it takes is one rogue to ruin it.
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

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