The police pull you over on the highway in Alabama. They search your car, and they find a large amount of cash, which they claim came from drug sales. They seize the cash on the spot.
You have a lot of questions about the legality of this practice, but it starts long before they even took the money. You wonder if they even had a right to pull you over in the first place.
After all, a traffic stop is illegal if it is made without a reason. Police cannot initiate random stops in an effort to find people who are breaking the law. Even if you are breaking a law, they still needed a reason to stop your car or the evidence they found -- weapons, drugs, cash, cellphone messages, etc -- may not hold up in court.
Some of the most common reasons for a traffic stop include:
- Changing lanes with no signal
- Failing to stop at a stop sign
- Changing lanes through a solid line
- Turning without using your signal
- Driving recklessly and aggressively
- Going too slowly
- Using the left lane when you are not passing
- Not wearing a seat belt
- Driving with your lights off at night
- Having something on the windshield that blocks your vision
- Driving without a license plate or committing other equipment violations
These are just a few examples, but your key takeaway should be that the police need some reason for that traffic stop. If they made an illegal stop and then illegally seized your cash after searching your car, you need to know what legal options you have.