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Thread: Please help: Need your input regarding some legal issues with police

  1. #1
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    Please help: Need your input regarding some legal issues with police

    Here is the deal:
    I own & operate a custom automotive shop that deals with paint, audio, performance and such. The shop is located within an industrial zone; however, there are few houses down the block.
    The majority of my customers own performance cars with loud mufflers and turbo, even when they drive under 20 mph, their cars are loud, you would get the impression that they are racing down the street. The street is in such a bad shape that no one in his right mind would go faster than 20 mph let alone that those cars are dropped!
    On more than one occasion, the cops came to the shop threatening towing the cars or arresting the drivers just because someone on the street called and complained. Some of my customers got tickets right on my parking lot.
    Background 1) One of the people who happen to live down the block always follow my so called speeding customers to the shop and starts a ruckus.
    Background 2) I realized lately that there is a police car that occasionally parks at the front of one of the houses down the block – and as you guessed it, it is the house that belongs to that crazy guy.

    Questions:
    1- Is it OK for the cops to step into my parking lot without permission? It happened
    2- Is it OK for the cops to issue summon on my premises even though they acknowledge they did not see the guy and that they are acting solely on a phone call? They did give a guy a ticket on my lot
    3- Is it OK for the cubs to invite themselves into my shop, passing the show room and into the work area without permission? They did, they even promised to tow every car on the lot if I don’t tell them who was driving a particular car!
    4- Is it OK for the ****en cops to come to the shop merely because they are friends/family/co-workers with one of the street tenants?

    How can I stop them, what are my legal rights, I don’t want to lose customers because of an *** whole down the block.
    Also, how can I let them know that they are there just because of this guy not because of a phone call without aggravating them? Can I file an administrative complained? What are my options?

  2. #2
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    I'm no lawyer, so this advice is worth what you paid for it.

    1. The police can investigate complaints. I'd bet they can make a pretty good case for why they needed to step onto your lot and ask you questions. I doubt there is anything you can do about that.

    2. If the police are issuing a summons, I wouldn't mess with them unless you want a summons for interfering with a police officer.

    3. No. You don't have to permit the police to enter your place of business and they aren't permitted to simply go wherever they want. But you have to tell them that and you'll have to suffer the consequences of those actions if you do. I doubt they can make good on their threat to tow every car on the lot but they can make a LOT of trouble for you. For example, they can decide to do "special" enforcement and issue citations for all cars with irregularities, run all the license plates checking for outstanding warrants, etc.

    The police also are often friends with local regulators who may want to stop by and ensure that you are complying with all local and federal laws, etc.

    4. No. It's not okay for the police to single you out and harass you. However, you'll have to provide some kind of proof that they are doing so intentionally and that's pretty hard, especially when there is a history of noise complaints at your business.

    It seems to me that unless something egregious happens, you are stuck with this situation.
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    Variable Bitrate blurp's Avatar
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    First bit of advice: Get a lawyer before you do anything.

    Second: Post "Employees Only" signs on the doors to off-limits areas. You can have a very legitimate reason for restricting access to "dangerous" areas, based on your insurance policy.

    Third: In-store video and audio surveillance is about the only thing that can fight against police harassment. In this day and age, you'd better have video proof of the cops harassing you, and you being calm, cool, and collected, before you file any kind of action against them.

    Fourth: Cops always stick together. If you file papers against one or two, you should expect to get tickets from other cops for every infraction you commit.

    Fifth: Refer to First.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingtut
    Questions:
    1- Is it OK for the cops to step into my parking lot without permission? It happened
    2- Is it OK for the cops to issue summon on my premises even though they acknowledge they did not see the guy and that they are acting solely on a phone call? They did give a guy a ticket on my lot
    3- Is it OK for the cubs to invite themselves into my shop, passing the show room and into the work area without permission? They did, they even promised to tow every car on the lot if I don’t tell them who was driving a particular car!
    4- Is it OK for the ****en cops to come to the shop merely because they are friends/family/co-workers with one of the street tenants?

    How can I stop them, what are my legal rights, I don’t want to lose customers because of an *** whole down the block.
    Also, how can I let them know that they are there just because of this guy not because of a phone call without aggravating them? Can I file an administrative complained? What are my options?
    1) Yes, they can step onto your parking lot with out permission. There is no expectation of privacy in your parking lot, it is a place of business, upon which you can not exclude them.

    2) What was the citation for? And yes, they can cite someone in your parking lot. The Police have the ability to enforce the vehicle code any place vehicles are operated. You can't race cars in the Home Depot parking lot and think that the officers can't enforce the law there because it is "Private property". You can't avoid a ticket for no registration or front license plate simply by parking in a parking lot. And, officers can basically do what they want (with in reason I guess), the question is what is your or their remedy. You can probably beat the ticket, but you probably can't avoid getting the ticket. Officers can act on a phone call, they almost ALWAYS do. In order for the cop to issue a moving violation citation, they must witness the offense, but general "equipment" violation can be issued anywhere, and anyplace they are observed, and the operator/driver need not be present.

    3) They probably can't walk into your shop with out a warrant, if it is a place that people generally can't walk into. Putting up signs might help, but the truth is, if you have, and do let people walk into the shop normally, you can't tell the cops they can't come in. They are members of the public just like anyone else. The "test" for an unreasonable entry and search and seizue of property is if one has a "reasonable expectation of privacy" If you let poeple in, then you have no reasonable expectation of privacy. Remember also, that your remedy for this is AFTER THE FACT. You can try and deny the officers entry, but they will do what they want. You will win in court though.

    They probably can tow every vehicle if they have a legal right to enter and a legal justification to seize the car. That threat most likely means that they will obtain a warrant to enfforce the vehicle code, everything from registration, to exhaust violations, to what ever else is in the vehicle code. I have also heard the belief that modified cars "typically" have stolen parts, engines, and even the cars. They can attempt to justify the search warrant, and a search of the premises based on that. In fact, I was at HIN a year or so ago, and the copse walked through the event, and seized 3 or 4 cars for stolen parts, and engines. Yeap, they can do it. There is no expectation of privacy if your car is in a public place, and you let/invite people to look at your ****.

    4) They can come to your shop for any reason, whether because of a complaint, or because they like to look at cars and want to hang out there, or because they like the area.

    Your options are to tell your customers to have legal exhausts, and to respect the neighborhood and it's tenants. Otherwise, there is nothing you can do to stop the officers from enforcing the law. You might see it as harassment, but the courts will not. If they are bothering you with out a legal justification (you admit the cars are loud which is a possible violation of the vehicle code, and quite possibly, the vehicle code is being violated in other ways) then it might rise to a level of harrassment, but you would have to prove that there is no violation occuring, which will be VERY difficult.

    Michael
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    if you cant beat em join em post a flyer for an import car meet night hosted in your parking lot and bring it to the local high school and college. that crazy man will want to move
    after that happens rally against it happening with the local neighbors and the empathize saying that its ridiculous etc. and that your customers are considerate and such

    then maybe the crazy guy will let up seeing how good he really has it

    or just pop his tires
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostreception
    if you cant beat em join em post a flyer for an import car meet night hosted in your parking lot and bring it to the local high school and college. that crazy man will want to move
    after that happens rally against it happening with the local neighbors and the empathize saying that its ridiculous etc. and that your customers are considerate and such

    then maybe the crazy guy will let up seeing how good he really has it

    or just pop his tires
    just be sure you get permits and what not first, or else your cop buddies will have a field day.
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    Unregistered User ODYSSEY's Avatar
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    Get a lawyer.

    Quote Originally Posted by kingtut
    Questions:
    1- Is it OK for the cops to step into my parking lot without permission?
    Yes, unless the parking lot is secured.
    Quote Originally Posted by kingtut
    2- Is it OK for the cops to issue summon on my premises even though they acknowledge they did not see the guy and that they are acting solely on a phone call? They did give a guy a ticket on my lot
    Depends on what the ticket is for. In most cases the officer must witness the violation.
    Quote Originally Posted by kingtut

    3- Is it OK for the cops to invite themselves into my shop, passing the show room and into the work area without permission? They did, they even promised to tow every car on the lot if I don’t tell them who was driving a particular car!
    Yes, unless it is clearly marked as private or employees only. I suggest if you have nothing to hide to let them in anyways.
    Quote Originally Posted by kingtut
    4- Is it OK for the ****en cops to come to the shop merely because they are friends/family/co-workers with one of the street tenants?
    Your business serves the general public and you can not stop them from entering.

    Now depending on the violation the court might dismiss if it happened on private property (your parking lot). Also I doubt the cops could tow every car off your parking lot (private property) without proper warrants.

    Generally any area the general public can enter with out asking permission the police can enter.

    Also, have you politely talked to the police to find out what the problem is? If the officers can not help you resolve the matter, ask to meet their supervisor. It is best to work with the police and not against.
    ODYSSEY

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    Phillie Escalade182's Avatar
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    **** the police, seriously.

  9. #9
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    The ticket was for exceeding the speed limit.
    I think you guys brought some real valid points regarding the police. I do agree with those points though.
    My concern was lose of business due to my customers getting tickets. Then again, if they speed or break the law in any way, shape or form, I don't want to be part of it.
    So far, I haven't lost business because of this.
    I think, I'll just have to live with it, if any one gets ticket, it is his problem.

  10. #10
    My man uses Levitra. Peoples's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Escalade182
    **** the police, seriously.
    I'm suprised that you're allowed on the computer.



    I've seen episodes of cops where a police officer gave a ticket to a guy who parked in a handy cap spot at a motorcycle shop. The owner of the place came out cursing and screaming at the cop trying to say that it was alright because he knew the guy. The cop said that because it was commercial property and he did not have handycap tags that the guy was breaking the law. I'd be suprised if they aired that if the cop was full of crap. I don't recall, but I think they might have ended up arresting the owner for disorderly conduct, I think he started to flip out on the cop, maybe swung at him.
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