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Thread: OT: question about legality of "license check" in NC

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    Regular Member cabarrus's Avatar
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    OT: question about legality of "license check" in NC

    I'm sorry if this is too off-topic, but thought there might be some opinions here. I was driving home from work today and had the pleasure of being stopped (along with everyone else driving along Johnson Dairy road ,near NC 3) by an Iredell County Sheriffs deputy. They were just doing a "license check", with which I complied, along with showing my CHP and telling him I did not have a gun with me (trying to follow CHP requirements).

    Is such a "license check" legal in NC? I thought not due to NC not being a "stop and identify" state, but does being in the car make a difference?

    Thanks for any opinions.

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    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    Hopefully some NC residents will chime in, but to the best of my knowledge unless they have RAS or PC of a crime no they can't stop just to check your license.
    "Just say no."
    Of course, they could then invent a reason... oh, yeah, we saw you weaving... you didn't signal back there... or [crash] your taillight is broken.

    Out of curiosity, did they just glance at it to be sure you're you & the license is current, or did they actually run the license # or your name to see if you had any warrants, etc.?

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    I went through that check also. Had my pistol right beside me and he had no issues with it.
    He just asked for my licence, looked at it briefly and sent me on my way. I think they were/are looking for someone if I had to guess.

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    Regular Member cabarrus's Avatar
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    It was just a quick glance at it and then I was on my way. It took more time for him to repeatedly say "we're just doing a license check" as I asked him what the stop was about, then for him to actually look at my license and CHP when I produced them.
    Last edited by cabarrus; 03-30-2011 at 08:00 PM. Reason: redundant "repeatedly"

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    Regular Member sultan62's Avatar
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    I have yet to discover a legal basis for these license checks. I've only been through one, and that was before I learned more about my rights. At this point, I'd simply say I'd rather not give it, but will if it is demanded. I'd take a different route if not driving, but I'm unsure about the legal issues involved there.
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    I just complied simply because I was operating a motor vehicle and he wanted to see my licence.

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    Regular Member elixin77's Avatar
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    I guess I can see both sides of the issue here:
    -They are, in essence, phishing for people that don't have a license with them, and hoping to raise a little extra money with either people who don't have their license, or those that may have been drinking (it's 5 pm somewhere, right )
    -You technically are obligated to show them your license since you are operating a motor vehicle
    -However, they had no RAS to stop you, and since we don't live in a Stop and Identify state, we technically shouldn't have to show the license
    -But, this loops back to my earlier statement, in that you are operating a motor vehicle

    So, this issue can be a bit tricky. personally, if I'm driving a car, then I would show them my license, just to make them go away. However, if I was walking, and they wanted to see ID, i'd tell them to go pound sand (in a much nicer way, of course)
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    Regular Member sultan62's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elixin77 View Post
    I guess I can see both sides of the issue here:
    -They are, in essence, phishing for people that don't have a license with them, and hoping to raise a little extra money with either people who don't have their license, or those that may have been drinking (it's 5 pm somewhere, right )
    -You technically are obligated to show them your license since you are operating a motor vehicle
    -However, they had no RAS to stop you, and since we don't live in a Stop and Identify state, we technically shouldn't have to show the license
    -But, this loops back to my earlier statement, in that you are operating a motor vehicle

    So, this issue can be a bit tricky. personally, if I'm driving a car, then I would show them my license, just to make them go away. However, if I was walking, and they wanted to see ID, i'd tell them to go pound sand (in a much nicer way, of course)
    I see your point, but at the same time, they are not allowed to arbitrarily pull vehicles. There still must be RAS to perform a 'Terry Stop', and there is none at a license check.
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    Regular Member elixin77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sultan62 View Post
    I see your point, but at the same time, they are not allowed to arbitrarily pull vehicles. There still must be RAS to perform a 'Terry Stop', and there is none at a license check.
    understood, however, driving a motor vehicle is one of the reasons why we have to show our ID, which loops back to the whole "must show ID when operating a car" argument.

    I'd look it up a bit more in depth, but I'm studying for a psych test tomorrow, and I'm just taking a break, lol
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    Quote Originally Posted by elixin77 View Post
    understood, however, driving a motor vehicle is one of the reasons why we have to show our ID, which loops back to the whole "must show ID when operating a car" argument.

    I'd look it up a bit more in depth, but I'm studying for a psych test tomorrow, and I'm just taking a break, lol
    Two issues here.... A driver's license is required to operate a motor vehicle on a road AND they can't arbitrarily pull a random car over to check the operator's license status WITHOUT RAS that a crime has been committed, is being committed or just about to be committed by the operator of the vehicle!

    STOPPING ALL THE VEHICLES WITHOUT RAS SURE SEEMS TO BE A VIOLATION OF MY "UNREASONABLE SEARCH AND SEIZURE" Constitutional protections!

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    Regular Member sultan62's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeSparky View Post
    Two issues here.... A driver's license is required to operate a motor vehicle on a road AND they can't arbitrarily pull a random car over to check the operator's license status WITHOUT RAS that a crime has been committed, is being committed or just about to be committed by the operator of the vehicle!

    STOPPING ALL THE VEHICLES WITHOUT RAS SURE SEEMS TO BE A VIOLATION OF MY "UNREASONABLE SEARCH AND SEIZURE" Constitutional protections!
    Agreed.
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    Please clarify... Did you get "stopped" or did you come through a check point?

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    Quote Originally Posted by NoGlock4U View Post
    Please clarify... Did you get "stopped" or did you come through a check point?
    The OP states the He and all the other vehicles were stopped at the license checkpoint in the first post of this thread.

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    Regular Member Spearhead's Avatar
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    I remember reading something about this a while back. The NC courts have ruled that if they are checking everyone at the license check that there is legal. It is only if they single you out for a license check that they need PC or RAS.

    I believe they also ruled that the officers did not have to check every car. They could check, say , every third car of every 5th car just so long as it was a uniformly applied pattern. This was because in some high traffic areas stopping every car would impose traffic congestion and a bottleneck.
    Last edited by Spearhead; 03-31-2011 at 08:25 AM.
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    Activist Member JamesCanby's Avatar
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    I have a problem with this kind of "license check" and ALL other forms of "Stop & ID." AFAIC, if there is no RAS or Probable Cause, then I should be left alone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spearhead View Post
    I remember reading something about this a while back. The NC courts have ruled that if they are checking everyone at the license check that there is legal. It is only if they single you out for a license check that they need PC or RAS.

    I believe they also ruled that the officers did not have to check every car. They could check, say , every third car of every 5th car just so long as it was a uniformly applied pattern. This was because in some high traffic areas stopping every car would impose traffic congestion and a bottleneck.
    i know that SFs on AFBs used to use some off the wall method of deciding what cars to check, ie. every red car or every 3rd silver car, just to keep things random but have a uniform method of checking (this is gate checks i'm talking about of course and in the 90's)
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    I live in a county that does check points constantly and have a few friends who work for NCDOT Governor's Highway Safety Program. License check points are basically a "license check point". It is required by law that every officer working that check point ONLY ask for your license and you license only from EVERY vehicle that comes through. The same applies to it they asked for "license and registration". If one officer asks for something else, the check point is no longer legal... But it's still required by law that you show your CCW permit. If you come through drunk or with no license or your car is full of drugs or marijuana smoke is rolling out your windows or a dead body in the back seat, well... then that's your own fault...

    But coming from military experience, they make their own rule on checking cars whether it be "one two, skip a few" or what not.
    Last edited by NoGlock4U; 03-31-2011 at 10:03 AM.

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    Regular Member REDFIVE48's Avatar
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    http://www.policehelp.net/pubs/2010/qv9n9.pdf

    Here you go, haven't finished reading it yet, but answers a lot of the questions

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    Regular Member sultan62's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by REDFIVE48 View Post
    http://www.policehelp.net/pubs/2010/qv9n9.pdf

    Here you go, haven't finished reading it yet, but answers a lot of the questions
    I read that update as them making sure they're squeaking by on the Constitution, not with any actual respect given to it-like they simply view it as an inconvenience they have to deal with, and it sickens me.
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    Regular Member cabarrus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeSparky View Post
    The OP states the He and all the other vehicles were stopped at the license checkpoint in the first post of this thread.
    The 2 deputies were standing in the middle of the road stopping all cars traveling in both directions.

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    Regular Member REDFIVE48's Avatar
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    Angry

    Quote Originally Posted by sultan62 View Post
    I read that update as them making sure they're squeaking by on the Constitution, not with any actual respect given to it-like they simply view it as an inconvenience they have to deal with, and it sickens me.
    Unfortunately the courts are supporting this behavior, guess those judges that nobody pays attention to on the ballot actually do matter

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    Regular Member Spearhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoGlock4U View Post
    I live in a county that does check points constantly and have a few friends who work for NCDOT Governor's Highway Safety Program. License check points are basically a "license check point". It is required by law that every officer working that check point ONLY ask for your license and you license only from EVERY vehicle that comes through.
    Yeah, right.

    Three times I have been thru the checkpoint, one officer at my drivers side window asks for my DL while the other 2 or 3 have their eyeballs all in the inside of my car, shining their flashlights, checking my tags to see if they are expired, etc. They are always very polite, though.
    FISHING EXPEDITION
    Last edited by Spearhead; 04-01-2011 at 12:51 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sultan62 View Post
    they are not allowed to arbitrarily pull vehicles.
    FYI for anyone that cares. This DOES NOT apply to commercial vehicles. They can pull you over for any reason they wish. The same trooper in Charlotte has pulled me twice. Once I got, "Those trailers are usually over weight, can I see your scale ticket." This last time was even better, "Just letting you know that you've done nothing wrong, I pulled you over to do a routine inspection." An hour later I was on my way! Sheesh. You 4 wheelers have it made, lol.

    BTW, I can't stand the DL checks. They seem to come in bunches around here. In the last 2 years I've probably been through about 10-12 of them. They really like a couple of spots on my normal routes to work or my parents house.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spearhead View Post
    Yeah, right.

    Three times I have been thru the checkpoint, one officer at my drivers side window asks for my DL while the other 2 or 3 have their eyeballs all in the inside of my car, shining their flashlights, checking my tags to see if they are expired, etc. They are always very polite, though.
    FISHING EXPEDITION

    Like I posted earlier, if you go through one with something you shouldn't have, then that's your own fault.

    But since we're all law abiding citizens here and if you guys got nothing to hide, then why complain about a license check point?

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    Activist Member JamesCanby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoGlock4U View Post

    But since we're all law abiding citizens here and if you guys got nothing to hide, then why complain about a license check point?
    How many times have we heard, "If you've got nothing to hide..." then you won't mind if we search (you, your car, your house, etc. )

    The point is, if they have no RAS or PC, then they are not ENTITLED to search you, your car, your house or anything else. When one gives up one's right to be left alone, then all of our rights erode just a little bit more.

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