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  1. #1

    Question Can You Be Required to Test Vehicle Equipment Function at Traffic Stop

    My question involves vehicle maintenance laws for the State of: Minnesota

    Let me start by stating that this is my first post here. I'm a long time user (and moderator) of internet forums, but I am new to this one...so hello! Let's get started...

    I was recently approached by a state trooper after I came to a stop at a light while he was directing traffic out of the right lane on a divided highway. I had been in the left lane for at least 1/4 mile before approaching his position. He demanded that I flash my turn signals for him. The entire encounter lasted until well after the light had turned green, at which point he took down my plates and asked for my cell phone number and sent me on my way. I received a phone call from him the next day and subsequently received a citation in the mail for illegally colored front turn signals (red). My car is a 2015 Evo, so it's essentially brand new, and no one of normal mind would question the functional state of its equipment (does not look at all to be in disrepair).

    I have a few questions regarding this encounter:

    1) Could I have ignored his request to open my window since I was not technically being pulled over? When he approached neither me or any of my passengers knew why.

    2) Was I legally required to perform functionality tests of my vehicle's equipment at his command? His order to test the equipment, to me, displayed his uncertainty of the color he saw 1/4 mile down the road.

    3) Was I legally required to provide him with my cell phone number? He already had my plates and asked if I was the owner/primary operator of the vehicle (to which I had replied yes).


    Let it be known that I was generally compliant with all the officer's requests, and I'll most likely just pay the citation rather than taking it to court, I just would like to know what rights I have during a traffic stop, and if the citation could have been avoided by knowing those rights. Yes, I already know it could have been avoided by not having red LED signals in the first place, but that's not the point.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,429

    Default Re: Required to Test Vehicle Equipment Function at Traffic Stop

    If you were stopped anyhow, it was a consensual stop and he's free to ask you questions. If he had a reasonable suspicion that you were violating the law, then he's free to stop and question you further.

    You're free not to give out your cell phone number, but he was also free at that point to detain you further while he wrote you up on the spot or as you suspected, to take your license number and find you later.

    Yes, state law in Minnesnota allows for police to make such spot checks of vehicle equipment provided it is a state patrol officer. Others, it's merely a request which you might have been able to decline. Of course, he could have then waited until you lit of the lights for some other reason and wrote you up at that point.

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