Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney Warns of Ignoring Old Criminal Warrants With the Advent of New Police License Plate Scanning Technologies
New police video camera technology able to scan license plates makes it simple for police to identify vehicles and drivers with outstanding warrants, suspended licenses, registrations or other charges. A police cruiser with a mounted video camera and a computer can now instantly flag suspects who drive within range of one of these systems.
The technology is called ALPR or Automatic License Plate Recognition. It combines advanced video optical character scanning technology with law enforcement and registry databases. A police vehicle with this system installed can scan thousands of plates per hour while driving or sitting by the road.
“If you’ve got any kind of outstanding criminal warrant or suspended license, you are taking a huge gamble by simply driving your car.” He regularly represents people dealing with charges from old warrants and probation violations. He added, “Since 9/11 and the advent of the Patriot Act, decades-old criminal warrants are now showing up in databases and are shared across the spectrum of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.”
It’s always a mistake to ignore or avoid unresolved criminal matters and now it is riskier than ever. “In the past, I’ve always urged anyone with an outstanding criminal warrant to address it as soon as possible, because if they are ever stopped by the police for speeding, they would be instantly arrested”. Adding, “But now just driving down the road can get you arrested.”
Proactively dealing with an old warrant will avoid big problems in the future. “Frequently, I can recall the warrant and dispose of the case without the Defendant present. With old criminal cases, often evidence and witnesses are no longer available, and I can get those cases completely dismissed”.
ALPR is being used regularly in California, primarily to identify stolen vehicles on the road and is being quickly adopted by police departments across the country.