If you ask most North Carolina motorists about the grounds on which they can be stopped by a police officer, they'll likely tell you that it can only happen if they saw them engage in illegal activity or have reason to believe that they're still engaging in it. Most residents may be less sure about a police officer's right to search their vehicle without a warrant. It can be lawfully done in a variety of circumstances.
Whether it's for allegedly speeding, a burned-out taillight or at a drunk driving checkpoint, most every veteran North Carolina motorist has been pulled over by police on at least one occasion. Since these instances don't happen all the time, it can be difficult to know how to respond to them. This is why it's important to know what your rights are in these situations.
North Carolina motorists are often pulled over by police because they run red lights, speed or forget to activate their turn signals. Some of these can also be signs that a motorist is intoxicated from drugs or alcohol. It's possible for someone in Statesville to be stopped for having a broken headlight, expired tags or a potentially hazardous mechanical defect. Not all stops are lawful, however.
You've heard them stated on TV and in movies hundreds of times: "You have the right to remain silent . . ." But the first time you hear the Miranda rights directed at you by a police officer, your mind can be so jumbled by nerves that you might unintentionally waive your Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
Any interaction with law enforcement can be frightening and stressful. However, for people who are hard of hearing or deaf, dealing with officers can be especially difficult. It's been estimated that as many as 9 percent of people may be hearing impaired to some degree. As our population ages, that number will likely rise.
The Raleigh Police Department has posted a video online showing a simulated traffic stop in order to provide guidance to motorists about what to do if they're pulled over by an officer. In the video, motorists are told that they should answer any question the officer asks.
There's actual research to back up something that many people have long suspected about our nation's police force: There are a lot of angry people in uniform.
Many Americans spend their first years out of the house in a college dormitory or off-campus housing. North Carolina's fine higher education options attract many students to apartments owned by other people or institutions, and they should know the expectations of their tenancy in these homes.
A Harnett County sheriff's deputy is on administrative leave and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation has gotten involved after an incident caught on cellphone video earlier this month. The video shows two deputies tackling a teenager who was recording an arrest and then the girl's sister who was recording the officers wrestling her sibling to the ground.
The debate around whether Confederate statues belong in public spaces in the 21st century is an emotionally charged one here in North Carolina and other southern states — with strong feelings on both sides.