Question: I was stopped for a DUI in Johns Creek and I think it was because I have a lot of tattoos, even on my face and neck. I've been getting tattoos for many years because I am an artist and some close friends are tattoo artists. I let my boyfriend experiment on me with tattoos and piercings because he wants to open his own shop. I also have piercings in my nose and lip. I don't look average!
It was late at night and the cop was next to me at a stop light and I think he looked into my car and noticed the tats and piercings and that's what caused him to pull me over a couple of miles later. I really do think I was profiled just because of my ink and I'm not happy about it at all. I think it's discrimination.
The cop did give me a ticket for speeding and for failure to maintain lane and of course I caught a drunk driving charge.
I wanted to write in and ask if a cop can stop a car because the driver has tattoos and piercings.
T.W. in Johns Creek
Answer: No, a police officer cannot pull a driver over just because the motorist has tattoos or piercings. Having tattoos and piercings is perfectly legal and, in fact, many people find it to be fashionable.
A police officer must have a justifiable reason to stop your vehicle. That reason has to be because he or she suspects that a law was violated. Speeding, failure to maintain lane, rolling through a stop sign and failing to use traffic signals are some obvious traffic infractions that give the law enforcement officer reason to stop your car.
Even if you were “profiled” because of your appearance, a police officer is usually aware enough of the law to write a citation stating a legitimate reason for the stop of the vehicle. In your case the Johns Creek police officer wrote citations for speeding and failure to maintain lane, which provide a reason for the stop.
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