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Is this legal?

Posted Wed March 14, 2012 1:34 pm, by Shareena E. written to VICKSBURG POLICE DEPT.

I want to know is it legal for the Vicksburg Police dept. to sit at a store and ask a person for their license, registration, and insurance if their car wasn't moving and they were parked at a gas pump getting gas.My husband was getting gas at a gas station in Vicksburg and the police came up to him while his car was parked at the pump to ask him for his info. I understand if he pulled him over but I feel this isn't legal. The same officer was also asking for id's for others walking in and out of the store to run their names. I this right?


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by T. B. Posted Tue April 3, 2012 @ 7:57 PM

In a word? Yes. Most likely the police where looking for someone in
the area and were just checking each person.

by Horsetuna Posted Fri March 30, 2012 @ 7:43 PM

I notice a lot of replies below mentioning DUI and stuff, and I'm
rereading the letter trying to see if there was any mention of her
husband being drunk... and I dont see it.


by Michael C. Posted Thu March 22, 2012 @ 10:01 AM

Most times, if you are in the car and have keys in the ignition and
you're drunk...you're busted. If you have possession of the keys
too...you may still be busted.

Now...if you had NO KEYS in your possession at all and were just
sleeping it off in your car, they should have no case against you
whatsoever since you hadn't the capacity to start the car and drive

Last time I was in this situation when I was single and not in a
condition to drive home, I put my keys somewhere that nobody could
possibly find them (including the cops if they searched the car). The
cops came and TRIED to bust me...and then I said I was just waiting
until I sobered up and would have my "friend" bring me the keys when I
did. I invited them to look around to prove I had no keys...and no
capacity to start the car. Since I wasn't parked illegally, they had
no choice but to let me go back to sleep.


not a bad idea... by PepperElf Sat March 24, 2012 @ 7:46 PM

Good luck finding your keys... by jeishere Mon March 26, 2012 @ 12:46 PM

Actually, you CAN be busted for DUI even without keys by RedheadwGlasses Mon March 26, 2012 @ 6:29 PM

o interesting idea. by PepperElf Tue March 27, 2012 @ 10:36 AM

by jeishere Posted Mon March 19, 2012 @ 8:52 AM

If the keys are in the ignition, this may legally count as operating a
motor vehicle. I think you can be charged with a DUI if the keys are
in the ignition even if the car is not moving, so the same would
probably apply here.


This - i knew a man who got a DUI from the passenger seat because he started the car while drunk. by PepperElf Mon March 19, 2012 @ 9:27 AM

You can be charged with DUI even without the keys by RedheadwGlasses Mon March 19, 2012 @ 12:58 PM

how? not that i'm arguing I'm just curious. by PepperElf Mon March 19, 2012 @ 7:02 PM

I bet... by hussyinterrupted Tue March 20, 2012 @ 12:40 PM

interesting. although i dislike the idea of... by PepperElf Wed March 21, 2012 @ 9:54 AM

although with the fancy pushtostart luxury cars you don't actually have keys period... you have an RFID fob by PepperElf Wed March 21, 2012 @ 9:56 AM

What happens... by hussyinterrupted Thu March 22, 2012 @ 1:33 PM

honestly i don't know either. i'm curious too n/t by PepperElf Sat March 24, 2012 @ 7:44 PM

by Harleycat Posted Sun March 18, 2012 @ 10:51 PM

Here's my thought on this. If I have nothing to hide, it doesn't
bother me. If they are trying to catch someone with my vehicle type
involved in a robbery or a hit and run, again, no sweat, it wasn't me.
If they were just asking people of my ethic heritage and/or age for
the heck of it, yes it would bother me but again, I have nothing to


I think that's a slippery slope... by jeishere Mon March 19, 2012 @ 8:59 AM

the situation in the letter doesn't violate the 4A at all by PepperElf Mon March 19, 2012 @ 9:42 AM
by Nashota Posted Fri March 16, 2012 @ 12:10 AM



the 3rd one down i think by PepperElf Fri March 16, 2012 @ 6:59 AM

by Nashota Posted Fri March 16, 2012 @ 12:06 AM

At this time, Mississippi does not have a 'stop and identify' law.

In the United States, interactions between police and citizens fall
into three general categories: consensual (“contact” or
“conversation”), detention (often called a Terry stop, after Terry v.
Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968)), or arrest. “Stop and identify” laws pertain
to detentions.

Different obligations apply to drivers of automobiles, who generally
are required by state vehicle codes to present a driver’s license to
police upon request.

At any time, police may approach a person and ask questions. The
objective may simply be a friendly conversation; however, the police
also may suspect involvement in a crime, but lack “specific and
articulable facts”[4] that would justify a detention or arrest, and
hope to obtain these facts from the questioning. The person approached
is not required to identify himself or answer any other questions, and
may leave at any time.[5] Police are not usually required to tell a
person that he is free to decline to answer questions and go about his
business;[6] however, a person can usually determine whether the
interaction is consensual by asking, “Am I free to go?”[7][8]

4 Writing for the Court in Terry v. Ohio, Chief Justice Warren

And in justifying the particular intrusion the police officer must
be able to point to specific and articulable facts which, taken
together with rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrant
that intrusion. — 392 U.S. at 21

5 Writing for the Court in Florida v. Royer 460 U.S. 491 (1983),
Justice White stated,

The person approached, however, need not answer any question put
to him; indeed, he may decline to listen to the questions at all and
may go on his way. — 460 U.S. at 497–498

6 Writing for the Court in United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544
(1980) Justice Stewart stated,

Our conclusion that no seizure occurred is not affected by the
fact that the respondent was not expressly told by the agents that she
was free to decline to cooperate with their inquiry, for the
voluntariness of her responses does not depend upon her having been so
informed. — 446 U.S. at 555

7 The ACLU publication Know Your Rights When Encountering Law
Enforcement states,

You can say, “I do not want to talk to you” and walk away calmly.
Or, if you do not feel comfortable doing that, you can ask if you are
free to go. If the answer is yes, you can consider just walking away.
Do not run from the officer. If the officer says you are not under
arrest, but you are not free to go, then you are being detained.

8 If the encounter is consensual, a person approached need not
actually leave to terminate the encounter, but may simply ignore
police. In Michigan v. Chesternut, 486 U.S. 567 (1988), Justice
Blackmun explained the Court’s holding that Chesternut had not been
detained, stating that the police conduct “would not have communicated
to a reasonable person that he was not at liberty to ignore the police
presence and go about his business.” — 486 U.S. at 569


by PepperElf Posted Thu March 15, 2012 @ 8:57 AM

i know you might be trying to go for the "but it's not moving
therefore he's not really driving" theme but...

he's OPERATING the vehicle. "operating" does not necessarily mean
"moving". It includes turning the car on, off, and ... common

the real issue with "requirement to present id" is... whether or not
they can as the passengers.

since you've already shown that he wasn't a passenger but the driver -
you answered your own question.

it might not be the answer you wanted to hear, but it is the one that
fits what you've asked.

so out of curiosity, did he have his ID on him?


by PepperElf Posted Thu March 15, 2012 @ 8:46 AM

The real question is... are you OBLIGED to present the police with
your ID card.

Just like when police ASK to search your vehicle. Once you say "Yes"
then their search isn't a violation of the 4th Amendment.

I tried looking through Mississippi law but ... I got bored and quit.
Why don't you try asking at your Town Hall for the information on the


by Terena D. Posted Thu March 15, 2012 @ 8:13 AM

I work at the front desk of a hotel and the local police come in
regularly asking for the copies of guest IDs we take at check in.
Then they run them to see if they have any warrants. I've worked at a
few hotels and they've done this at each one, so it's a regular
practice in my area, if not all over.


I don't know why they bother you guys by RedheadwGlasses Thu March 15, 2012 @ 12:50 PM

that's not very accurate by PepperElf Thu March 15, 2012 @ 2:36 PM

Agreed, not accurate... by Jennifer S Thu March 15, 2012 @ 2:57 PM

probably because when most people pick fake names by PepperElf Thu March 15, 2012 @ 3:56 PM

very true by bhskittykatt Thu March 29, 2012 @ 6:09 PM

Not Sure That This IS Legal... by T. B. Tue April 3, 2012 @ 7:56 PM

by RedheadwGlasses Posted Wed March 14, 2012 @ 10:38 PM

Sounds like a cop who needs to find some real cop work to do. I would
think a business owner would NOT appreciate a cop harassing

Generally: If a cop is treating EVERYONE the same, it's legal. It's
when he starts to focus on gender, race, ethnicity/skin color, etc.,
is when it becomes illegal.

This cop jsut seems like a dick who needs to get back to his job.


by Bill R. Posted Wed March 14, 2012 @ 3:48 PM

Shareena E.,

First of all I hope your husband knows you guys were going to get your
15 minutes of fame on the Internet because of this letter to VPD.

Now, getting back to your question. I am not a LEO but my gut tells me
that this officer was within the parameters of his duties when asking
folks for ID and the like. It is a good thing that you did not take
this up with the officer at the time. Wait, you were not there.

Any of 100 plus scenarios could have been in play right before your
husband rolled up on that location. In addition to what the other
readers have said there could have been an active BOLO for a male or a
car fitting description of folks at that location or a crime could
have taken place and they were working the crowd.

Stop back and let us know if your hear from VPD.



BOLO by haranj Thu March 15, 2012 @ 9:45 PM

Now that's not fair! by MA Bellamy Fri March 16, 2012 @ 12:21 PM

Plus, the description could be wrong by RedheadwGlasses Mon March 26, 2012 @ 6:31 PM

by MA Bellamy Posted Wed March 14, 2012 @ 3:19 PM

if they say they have just cause to ask the information, that's all
they need.

Perhaps there was an issue with people driving off and not paying for
the gas, so that's why the officer was there. Just making his
presence known and making people feel that they are being watched is
allegedly a crime deterrent (although as a cop's daughter, it just
annoys me!) Maybe they were looking for someone in particular who had
been reported to be seen in the area.

It's not really ethical, but they have a right to ask in the interest
of patrolling the area.


by Harleycat Posted Wed March 14, 2012 @ 3:18 PM

I would say it is if it's part of an ongoing effort by the police to
curb something like car theft, unlicensed driving, etc. Many police
departments have websites that you can go on a post this question to
the Chief of Patrol. I had an issue with our local highway patrol and
did this and got a call from the Lt in charge.


by McJohn Posted Wed March 14, 2012 @ 3:07 PM

I am sure if they had a report of someone in the area doing something
suspicious or they got a tip on someone they can question everyone in
the area and ask for ID of everyone.

Its legal to do checkpoints and ask everyone for ID so this has to be


by TortieKitty Posted Wed March 14, 2012 @ 2:20 PM

I would imagine that there would have to be some just cause for the
police to be questioning individuals like that and I'm sure they would
need to provide full disclosure of what the just cause is, even if
they are acting on a tip or report.


It should, BUT by MA Bellamy Wed March 14, 2012 @ 3:30 PM

Disclosure isn't a requirement afaik - not at the time of the event at least by PepperElf Thu March 15, 2012 @ 9:02 AM
by Steve OH (IO) Posted Wed March 14, 2012 @ 2:08 PM

erratically, of course they can question that person. If all you had
to do was exit your vehicle to avoid being questioned, nobody would
ever get ticketed or arrested.


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