Joshua Engel writes:
In most states, police can arrest people for minor offenses, including traffic offenses punishable only by a fine. In 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ability of police in Texas to arrest a woman for failure to wear a seat belt after she was stopped while driving her two children home from soccer practice. Atwater v. Lago Vista, 532 U.S. 318 (2001).
In the Atwater case, the woman was handcuffed and driven to the police station where she was booked and photographed. Her car was inventoried and towed. She ended up paying a $50 fine. Had the arrest in the Texas case happened today, the police could also likely have searched through her cell phone.
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