Loudoun County Virginia Reckless Driving

Virginia Woman Pulled Over For Reckless Driving in Citizens Arrest

April 16, 2012 | No Comments »

Agnes Cox pulled over in late January for someone she believed to be a police officer.  Instead the many who pulled her over was Portsmouth Fire Marshall, Ricky McLeod.  He asked Cox a few questions and for a look at her driver’s licence, noting that she had been swerving and reminded her to put on her seatbelt.

McLeod didn’t issue a citation and Cox was soon on her way but local police were concerned to find out about McLeods, well, initiative.  So the Suffolk police initiated their own investigation on to the Fire Marshall’s conduct, pondering whether he should be charged with “impersonating an officer.”

Commonwealth’s Attorney Phil Ferguson ultimately ruled that McCleod did nothing wrong. What you might be surprised to discover is that the legality of his actions had nothing to do with his status as a Fire Marshall. In fact, according to Virginia law you could do the same.

In a 2003 case the Virginia Supreme Court found that an off duty police officer who made a traffic stop for reckless driving had the right to do so as a citizen’s arrest. If McLead had chose to take Cox into custody he could have done so under his rights as an ordinary citizen.

Legal or not, police are loath to support this kind of activity.  They warn that traffic stops made without a fire-arm can be highly dangerous. Likewise those without law enforcement training may not be clear on proper grounds to detain another individual, meaning that they may end ups facing charges themselves.


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