Another California police jurisdiction (this time in Palm Desert) is employing automatic license plate scanners to search for cars and drivers with legal issues, expired licenses, outstanding warrants, and more. In the case of the article cited, the scanners located a stolen vehicle, but this same system also flags drivers with criminal warrants, expired drivers licenses, and more.
How do the License Plate Scanners Work?
- Video cameras are mounted on police cars that could be either parked by the road, or driving down the highway.
- The cameras are connected to computers in the police vehicles that use optical scanning and character recognition software to translate every video image of a license plate into scanned data.
- Every license plate number scanned is instantly matched with an on-board database of flagged license plates, that is either updated in real time, or downloaded daily. The data comes from the DMV, or other law enforcement databases that is matched with known stolen vehicles. The data is also matched to the owner of the vehicle. If the owner of the vehicle is known to have a suspended driver’s license, outstanding criminal warrant, or other issue, the police officer in the vehicle is instantly alerted, and instructed to pull over that vehicle.
The technology can potentially scan thousands of cars her hour.
Isn’t that a little Big Brother-ish?
It is, yes, many people think so. But these scanning and surveillance abilities have survived court challenges so far, so they are likely hear to stay. All you can do is be aware that these systems exist, and are only going to become more commonplace as the technology gets cheaper.
The bottom line is that if you have any outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court, or are driving with a license that is under suspension, you need to understand the huge risks you are taking. If you are arrested, you will very likely go to jail.
And many of these problems can be avoided with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to tackle these problems, clear your name, and maintain your freedom. Please contact us right away to find out how we can help you out of any criminal issue in California.