Can a traffic stop continue after I've been given a ticket or warning?

Complicated answer - Yes, only under certain conditions.

In order to continue the encounter after a warning or ticket, there generally has two be one of two things happen: (1) the law enforcement officer had reasonable articulable suspicion of other crimes to justify prolonging the traffic stop for further investigation; or, (2) the driver continued the encounter consensually.   "A driver must be permitted to proceed after a routine traffic stop if a license and registration check reveals no reason to detain the driver unless the officer has reasonable articulable suspicion of other crimes or the driver voluntarily consents." See State v. Goins, 2004 OK CR 5, 84 P.3d at 770.

Consensual encounters are not Fourth Amendment seizures since they involve the mere voluntary cooperation with an officer’s non-coercive questioning. In the context of traffic stops, the Supreme Court has held: "The police may detain a driver longer than necessary for the initial stop with consent." See State v. Goins, 2004 OK CR 5, ¶ 17, 84 P.3d 767, 770.To determine whether an encounter was consensual, courts consider if a reasonable person would have felt free to leave considering the totality of the circumstances. Id. at ¶ 18, 84 P.3d at 770. A “consensual encounter is the voluntary cooperation of a private citizen in response to non-coercive questioning by a law enforcement officer.” Id. at ¶ 20, 84 P.3d at 771 quoting United States v. West, 219 F.3d 1171, 1176 (10th Cir. 2000). Applying this test, a “traffic stop may become a consensual encounter, requiring no reasonable suspicion, if the officer returns the license and registration and asks questions without further constraining the driver by an overbearing show of authority.” Id.*6 Coffia v. State, 2008 OK CR 24, ¶ 14, 191 P.3d 594, 598.  And, the Supreme Court has ruled that an officer is not required to inform a suspect that he did not have to respond to his questioning or that he was free to leave. Therefore, an unlawful detention occurs only when the driver has an ‘objective reason to believe he or she is not free to end the conversation with the officer and proceed on his or her own way. West, 219 F.3d at 1176-77.
 

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Dustin Compton
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