Driver rights during a traffic stop - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Driver's rights during traffic stops

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The blaring police siren and flashing blue lights is enough to make even the most experienced drivers uneasy but one driver decided to video tape his traffic stop.

That video, once uploaded to YouTube, has garnered millions of views and sparked a heated discussion.

Some say the driver was asking for trouble, while others say he broke no law but was treated like a criminal.

Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants has reviewed the viral video. 

"Should he have acted that way? No, the police officer shouldn't have acted in that way," Plants said.  "However, nobody's rights were violated in that video."

The officer in the YouTube video orders the driver to wind his window all the way down but the driver declined.  Plants says drivers are not legally required to roll their windows all the way down but refusing to do so might send the wrong signal.

"That is one thing that guilty people do, is that they only crack their window," Plants said.  "I think that, perhaps, was a red flag for this officer."

As far as vehicle searches are concerned, you do not have to give consent to officers to search it but Plants says police do not need a warrant to search your car.  All law enforcement officers need to legally search your vehicle without consent is probable cause.

And while respect is likely appreciated by law enforcement, it is not at all legally required.

"It's always better to treat officers with respect," Plants said. "But its not illegal to be mean to a police officer or to cuss at a police officer."