Getting pulled over because of the trailer - Fiberglass RV

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Old 03-05-2009, 07:22 AM   #1
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April Wilcox's Avatar
Name: April
Trailer: 13 ft Scamp 1983
Posts: 534
We were just passed Memphis on I-40, about an hour or so from Nashville when we got pulled over simply because we were towing our trailer. We did not do anything wrong to provoke the stop, they were searching for drugs. After we gave them the registration papers, we had 2 different dogs surround the car/trailer and then were asked to open up the trailer so one of the dogs could go inside. I don't know, but it felt like our rights were being violated. Of course we did not have anything so they let us go. I was just very unhappy with the fact that they were just randomly searching people because they were towing trailers, and not because of anything else. There was another person with a trailer being stopped on the opposite side of the HWY and just as they let us leave, another RV was getting pulled over just ahead of us. The police were nice enough to us, didn't harass or miss treat us, it was just a very unpleasant way to end our long 16 hour drive. Has this happened to anyone else?

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Old 03-05-2009, 07:41 AM   #2
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Trailer: 1991 Scamp 16 ft
Posts: 307
Definitely a case of profiling. They have no right to pull you over and search because you are "pulling a trailer." Just because drugs have been found in trailers in the past is not enough reason for law enforcement to assume that all trailers have drugs and search accordingly. Law enforcement is increasingly over stepping their bounds when it comes to this issue. Of course they "asked" to go through the trailer since they did not have reasonable cause to search the trailer. Most people always go along with this when they could just say no. Sorry that it happened to you.

"The babbling that I brook." - Pink Floyd

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Old 03-05-2009, 07:59 AM   #3
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Posts: 24,582
Lets be very careful about this topic, okay? I understand your frustrations April... as well as others. However Search and Seizure laws are very complex. And honestly, the average Joe doesn't understand and often will confuse moral and legal obligations... they are two separate issues.

So, as a start educate yourself. Here's a link that may help: Understanding Search and Seizure Law

But please everyone, let's keep the politicin' to other sites on the web and concentrate on fiberglass trailers, camping and having fun!
Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
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Old 03-05-2009, 08:28 AM   #4
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Trailer: 94 Casita 16 ft
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Funny thing is that they likely aren't legally allowed to search without cause, or permission. Deny them permission, and all of a sudden you'll be acting in a suspicious manner giving them cause.

Neat huh?
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Old 03-05-2009, 08:31 AM   #5
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Trailer: 17 ft Oliver Legacy Elite (hull #3)
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When I look at a US Road map, I see that particular stretch 0f I-40 is in both a North/South and an East/West traffic flow corridor. Likely it is a high narcotics arrest zone alright.
K9's don't always mean narcotics dogs. Bomb dogs are hard to tell from drug dogs. Were there several different agencys involved ? Most agencys don't have the budgets to have more than one k9 unit in any particular area.
Makes me wonder if it may not have been an Homeland security alert.
At any rate, I'll bet that when you thanked them for keeping America safe, that your short delay was such a small price to pay, and was well worth it to protect America, they appreciated it.
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Old 03-05-2009, 09:37 AM   #6
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Name: Ken
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It’s common on I-40 from where you were to Oklahoma. They can search if you consent. If you say you don’t have my consent to search… they can’t. Asserting your 5th amendment privileges can’t be used against you as a building block toward probable cause. Anyway, glad you had a safe trip.
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Old 03-05-2009, 09:40 AM   #7
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Trailer: 1982 13 ft Scamp
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Yep, similar things have happended to me.

Just sent you a private message April (in the interest of avoiding a non-camper type political debate)
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Old 03-05-2009, 10:02 AM   #8
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Name: Greg
Trailer: 2015 Escape 19
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I'll bet it wasn't because you were pulling a trailer. I'll bet it was the "age" of the trailer you were pullin....
The police on duty probably work at one of those "age restricted" RV Parks we keep hearing about on their days off.
Scamp Owners International
2015 Escape 19 & 1997 Scamp 19
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Old 03-05-2009, 11:40 AM   #9
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Name: Art
Trailer: Helite
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You R lucky, On TV they did a news show that told of one of the Carolina states pulling over campers and boats and finding drugs so they could conficate the vehicles. The news story said the authorities were planting the evidence.
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Old 03-05-2009, 11:44 AM   #10
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Name: Patrick
Trailer: Casita Spirit Deluxe 17 ft
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Here's a link to a pretty concise article directly relating to RVs:

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Old 03-05-2009, 01:56 PM   #11
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Name: April
Trailer: 13 ft Scamp 1983
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I am not trying to talk politics here, just wondering how common this kind of thing is. The officer that stopped us flat out told us they were searching for drugs, and that our trailer sent off red flags.
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Old 03-05-2009, 02:13 PM   #12
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Next time traveling on I-40 try .
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Old 03-05-2009, 02:20 PM   #13
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Name: Pete
Trailer: 17 ft 1986 Burro
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I know there is a huge Crystal Meth problem and people are making it in trailers and motel rooms.
I think you where just part of the crackdown at the time.
There is no profile as to people because all ages of folks are making this crap. Could be anybody even your neighbor.

Something got their attention so they pulled you over.
My daughter gets stopped all the time at airports because she has red hair, the are taught to check anybody that stands out. She thinks it sucks too but understands what's happening.

I guess your best defense is to co-operate with respect ( yes sir - no sir , etc) and not give any attitude and you will be on your way in minutes.
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Old 03-05-2009, 02:24 PM   #14
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Name: Ed
Trailer: 1982 Fiber Stream and 2002 Casita Freedom Deluxe,The driveway is a Dark & Lonely Place now!
Posts: 1,807
On my way back from Arizona when buying the Fiberstream,I was stopped in Truth or Consequences,N.M. (sort of ironic?) at a Border Patrol Checkpoint.
They said they were looking for Stowaways and were only stopping vehicles they sensed able to hide people so not all cars were stopped.

They asked me if they could search the Fiberstream and I said "sure, I just bought this and have nothing to hide" and then it dawned on me that I had also just bought this and could not be altogether sure what might be in it,though I was sure there were no people on board.

They went in with a dog and somehow the search took a lot longer than the 30 seconds required to clear a vehicle the size of the Fiberstream.
They asked further if they could open the cabinets and really search and I asked them why they needed to do this if they were looking for people?
It was somewhat intimidating and they were not really too friendly about it but there seemed to be some additional point for them to make sure to ask my permission to open cabinets,etc.
I told them to go right ahead and the dog "Alerted" to a bag I had in a cabinet above the sink.
They pulled it down and opened it and everyone was rather tense.
I turned out to be a bag of Donuts I had up there that the dog seemed to have great interest in!
They apologized and commented that the dog was rather young and new at this and with the new Homeland Security presence they were using dogs before they were fully trained and this happened sometimes.

It was both funny(Police Dog wants the Donuts) and sad at the same time.
They clearly were not just looking for people and felt the need to lie about it.

Anyway,I felt I was stopped purely due to the look of the Rig and was not too happy about it.
All is well that ends well though I guess.

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