Can the police ticket me for something other than the purpose of the roadblock?

Question:

If the roadblock is legal, what the officer sees in plain view is fair game.

I was stopped at a sobriety checkpoint and wasn’t cited for drinking. But I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt and got a ticket. Is that legal?

Answer:

As long as the roadblock was conducted properly, the officer may look into the car when questioning the driver. If the officer sees contraband, such as an open container or a baggie of drugs, he may sieze them under the "plain view" doctrine: The officer is standing in a place where he has a right to be, that is, conducting a legal roadblock; and he may sieze contraband or evidence of a crime without first obtaining a warrant. 

Similarly, an officer who observes an infraction may issue a citation for that infraction.

by: , Attorney

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