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Traffic stop often leads to more charges

A recent traffic stop of a Kentucky man provides a cautionary tale of how a simple traffic offense can expand to a great number of charges. The man was facing 16 charges, from traffic violations and misdemeanors to seven felonies. The charges included speeding, open container, DUI second offense, seatbelt violation, lack of insurance, driving on a DUI suspended license, resisting arrest, wanton endangerment (three counts), identity theft and evading police.

This case illustrates how a routine traffic offense, like speeding or following too close can mushroom into felony charges. In order to stop a vehicle, law enforcement needs to have either probable cause or reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. In most cases, a minor traffic law infraction is the tool that opens the door to far more severe charges.

Here, the officer probably observed the driver speeding and following too closely. Once he stopped the vehicle, the driver resisted arrest and then fled on foot, leaving two children in the car as he ran. He was later found hiding at a home.

No matter what the charges, fleeing the police at a traffic stop is likely to make any defense of your case more difficult and, as happened here, allow a prosecutor to pile on additional charges.

A traffic stop is always a frightening time for any motorist, as it allows the police to make a close examination of your vehicle and your physical condition. This can greatly increase the potential for serious criminal charges, such as a repeat DUI, child endangerment or drug possession.

Driving safely not only helps to ensure your arrival at your destination, but it also denies police the opportunity to stop, examine and potentially arrest you and your passengers.

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