Drive long enough and it's only a matter of time before there's a traffic stop. It's just a part of driving, but it happens to some more than others. Although cops typically have a good reason for pulling someone over, there are times when the driver's only crime is being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong cop.
A Reddit thread recently asked people to share the dumbest reason they were pulled over by a police officer, and the results were something else. It seems like cops will pull someone over for anything and everything, even when there's no just cause. Take a look at some of the most ridiculous stories we could find. All posts have been edited for clarity.
"It wasn't me personally, but I was in court (just observing) and witnessed the following exchange:
Judge: 'So, you're in here for uh a seat cushion violation? Is that even a thing?'
Defendant: 'Apparently, your honor.'
Judge: 'Do you need one? How tall are you?'
Defendant: 'Five feet, your honor.'
Judge: 'This is the dumbest thing I've ever seen. Case dismissed.'
So there was a bit more exchange back and forth with the state prosecutor (and much mirth from the judge who had genuinely never had someone challenge it). In Florida, there's a law that if you are really short, you have to sit on a booster seat. The officer thought she was short enough to need it. She obviously was not."
"I got pulled over because the cop thought my inspection sticker was expired. He looked and quickly discovered that it was not expired.
He said, 'Oh, they're reversed, the year and the month.' He then tried to point out that the new inspection stickers reversed the order of the year/month were displayed. This was still the dumbest excuse for pulling me over because my inspection sticker was going to expire October of 2010, so the sticker said 10/10.
Another time, I was waved into a checkpoint on a Memorial Day. No problem, I hadn't been drinking at all. It was a seat belt check and the officer told me I was getting a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt.
Me: 'But I'm wearing my seat belt.'
Officer: 'Well, the officer up the road said you weren't, so...'
I got a ticket and I was not all that happy about it."
"There was a stop sign two houses down from my house. For over four years, I'd start my car, put it in drive, and do a slow rolling stop at the line while putting on my seat belt. An undercover cop that was parked on my street for some reason at 7:30 am on a Tuesday pulled me over.
I admitted to rolling over the stop, but you'd think such a minor infraction (I was going like 8 MPH) on someone with a spotless record would just be a warning, not a $70 ticket and three points off my driving record.
I have been driving for nine years and haven't lost a single point or gotten any tickets. This jerk just ruined my record over something that I and everyone on that street have done thousands of times. Every single day, I'd hear people pushing 80 MPH on that street which was a 40 zone.
Why are fully blacked out chargers undercover stalking residential areas for some minor traffic stops?"
"Someone saw a blue car 'driving erratically,' so they were pulling over every blue car and breathalyzing them. I pulled over in a well-lit gas station that was open at the time.
I passed but then got a lecture about how as a young woman, I shouldn't stop in small towns for anyone. It was pure ridiculousness hearing, 'I pulled you over and breathalyzed you and also I'm an officer but I'm going to lecture you about not pulling over for anyone late at night.'
The irony was not lost on me. Like obviously, I wouldn't just stop for anyone. I only pulled over because you pulled me over?"
"I was once pulled over in my driveway. The cops pull in behind me, telling me to 'throw my keys out of the window and to put my hands up.'
I could see in the mirror that she had her weapon drawn and pointed at me. I sat there for a minute with my hands up, and then she finally walked up and said, 'Sorry, I typed in your license plate wrong and it showed stolen.'
She then asked why I was running from her; she didn't even turn on the police lights until she pulled into my driveway. I filed a complaint the next day and nothing ever came of it.
Years later, while the officer was off-duty and wasted, she crashed head-on into a car full of foreign students, killing four of them. She got a measly eight years for that."
"A few years ago, I was on my way to visit my cousin on vacation in Utah and was heading through Colorado on my way out west. I was no more than a mile from the Utah border and had my cruise control set to 65 MPH when I noticed a suburban creeping up alongside me.
It was a Colorado trooper. I wasn't speeding, so I wasn't worried. I gently veered to the right a little just to give some room thinking they were just passing. But then the cop hung out in the left lane for a bit before slamming on his brakes and flipping the cherries on.
I pulled over and they went through the whole schpeel, 'You know why I pulled you over?' You were riding too close to the right side of the road... You even crossed the line.'
I questioned whether veering close to the side was illegal. They said no but wanted to make sure I was OK to drive.
This is where it gets good. They then claimed that they had no record of my car in their database and started questioning whether I was the actual owner. I had owned the car for nine years at that point.
These cops were literally holding all of my information, which included up-to-date, valid, official, and legal, license, registration, and insurance. Oh and look at this, I've kept the old registration and insurance cards for the past nine years. My name was on all of them.
I wanted to tell them that it was, in fact, my car, and yes, it was an out of state plate, so it wasn't going to show up in their database.
I sat there for probably another 20-30 minutes while they tried to figure out if I had stolen my own car. They eventually came back and said, 'Ok, everything appears to be fine. Drive safe.'"
"My daughter worked in housekeeping at our local hospital. People think of housekeeping as sweeping floors and making beds, but most of her actual job was cleaning the OR and examination rooms in the ER.
One winter, we had a snow emergency, and they asked that all non-essential people keep off the streets. My daughter was headed to work and was pulled over by a county police officer. He asked her where she worked, and she told him 'the hospital.' He asked what she did, and she said 'housekeeping.' He told her that housekeeping wasn't 'essential' and wrote her a ticket for being on the road during a travel advisory.
Her direct supervisor wasn't in that night, but her Department Head could see that she was upset when she got in. He asked her what happened, and she told him. He went into his office and called the Sheriff (the actual guy, not just the department) and just laid into him. She remembers hearing, 'If one of your deputies gets hurt out on the road tonight, do you want him in a clean operating room, or a dirty one?' and 'I don't require any of my people to come in, but anyone who does come in on a night like this is essential!'
He then came out of his office and calmly told her that the ticket was taken care of."
"I grew up in a small town and being of the alternative/skater kid variety, I was often targeted by the few cops we had. I never got caught doing anything wrong, but they would always follow me around. One night, I was driving my friend's little sister home so she wouldn't get a curfew ticket. It was 11:05, curfew was at 11. I was driving down Main Street when a cop started following me.
I was trying to shake him, so I continued on a few blocks, then slowed down and carefully turned off the main road. He immediately threw on his lights and pulled me over. Apparently, when I turned, I turned too early into the 'parking lane.' Say hello to a $120 ticket. Then he gave my friend's sister a curfew ticket. When he searched her bag and found a butt. He then gave her a possession ticket and made her sit on the curb while she waited for her parents to pick her up.
The cop proceeded to lecture me about hanging out with a minor and being a predator. I was 19 and my friend's sister was 17."
"Late one night, my neighbor and I were out on the porch for a smoke when we decided to go buy some cherry limeades from Sonic. On our way home, within sight of our homes, we were pulled over. She was driving and I was in the passenger seat.
My friend got extremely nervous because she had outstanding traffic warrants, so she instructed me to call her dad and have him take her car when she presumably got arrested. To our surprise, he didn't even seem to be interested in her, the driver, at all. He only wanted my information. I had no ID with me because my purse was at home. I gave him my name and date of birth. He then claimed he couldn't find me in the system. He ordered me out of the car and searched me. No matter how many times I gave him my very common, simple name, he said he couldn't find me, and threatened repeatedly to arrest me for failure to identify myself. I was freaking out inside because I didn't even have a license. I had never been in trouble with the law, and I certainly didn't have any tickets or anything.
He eventually found me in the system, went back to his vehicle, and drove off. He never gave us a reason for pulling us over. I wasn't doing anything but sitting in the passenger seat. We sat in the car on the side of the road for the longest time because we didn't know if he was coming back or what.
For reference, my friend with the OUTSTANDING WARRANTS is white, and I'm black."
"A cop once followed me for over a mile without putting on his lights or indicating that I should pull over. When I turned into the parking lot of my apartment complex, he turned, too, and then stopped his car right behind mine, blocking me from getting out.
I turned my engine off, waiting for him to come and tell me what was going on, but several minutes later, he still hadn't gotten out of his car. I decided to approach him, as he still hadn't indicated I had done anything wrong. As soon as I got out of my car, he started screaming at me to get back inside, which I did.
Finally, he came and told me my registration had expired (by one day). He also yelled at me for making him follow me all the way into the parking lot. I said I didn't realize he wanted me to pull over, and he just scoffed, gave me my ticket, and walked away.
A second later, he came back and said I should thank him."
"I was once pulled over for slowing down when the cop pointed his big spotlight directly into the driver's side of my windshield at 11 pm as I drove by.
I was driving a co-worker home from work as a favor. She happened to live in an area that was 90 percent forest with the occasional house plunked on the side of the road; it was super dark. So when the strange black car parked on the side of the road (with not so much as a running light on) decided to direct his mini-sun directly into my eyeballs, I was pretty effectively blinded. I slowed down as quickly as I could without sending my poor passenger flying until my night vision came back, and then discovered that I was actually right in front of her house, so I dropped her off and turned around in her driveway to go home. We concluded the spotlight was just some stupid kids who wanted to pull a 'sweet prank' or something.
As I drove by again on my way back, the black car once again attempted to blind me with this bright light, but this time I was prepared, focusing my vision to the right side of the road to avoid a direct hit, moving slowly enough to be safe with slightly limited vision but trying to escape the line of fire ASAP, and locking my doors just in case this was more malicious than teenagers thinking they were funny.
Seconds after clearing the obstacle, though, the car started up and swung around to pull up behind me. I was positive I was about to be run off the road and robbed, and then the flashing blues clicked on.
I pulled over immediately, and the officer marched to my window with his hand on his weapon, shout-demanding to know what I thought I was 'even doing' and then sort of stopped short, looking slightly confused/miffed. I stammered out something about dropping my work friend off (I'm scared to DEATH at this point), he squinted at me then pointed his flashlight around the inside of my car, huffed to himself, and scolded me for 'driving suspiciously,' which is apparently what it's called when you slow down due to someone shining a big light at you in the middle of the night. He didn't even take my license/reg, just let me go. I was VERY confused.
It turns out my coworker's creepy abusive ex had been slinking around the property against a restraining order and also had a warrant, so her roommate had called and asked for an officer to hang around and keep an eye out for a medium-sized white dude that drove a dumpy Toyota. I, a smallish-sized white girl in a dumpy Honda, but I had recently gotten myself a pixie cut and was wearing my work-issued baseball cap, so from what he could actually see in the dead of night, I probably looked pretty close. At least until the window rolled down and a definitely-female person was staring up at him with big scared eyes.
He was still a huge jerk to me, though."
"I was driving towards an intersection and the light was green. It was a big intersection, like two to three lanes of traffic each way. So I got maybe 10 feet from the line going 40 when the light turned yellow. I roll through and got pulled over by a cop like 40 yards behind me. They blew through a red light to yell at me about running a yellow. I was confused, young, and legit could not stop my car in the 10 feet and split second I had when it turned yellow. The cop was yelling, accusing me of being wasted, and driving recklessly. It was like 2 pm on a Saturday, and I was coming home from coaching hockey. Oh, I was a junior in high school. The cop was just being a prick.
I also got pulled over once for driving without my lights on. I take the bus to work and rarely drive my car. I've put 40 miles on it in three weeks because I went golfing three times and to the grocery store. I hadn't driven my car in about a week, and my wife was cleaning it out for me since she took it to work a bit the week before. She must have turned off my automatic lights by accident.
I was the designated driver when my friends and I went to a wedding one Saturday. We drove down there during the day so I didn't notice that my lights were off. After the wedding, at 2 am, I was driving my friends home and got pulled over maybe two minutes down the road. The road was extremely well lit, so I didn't notice my lights were off. The cop pulled me over and told me why he was pulling me over. I must have had the dumbest look on my face because I was dumbstruck. I looked and sure enough, they were off.
He let me off with a warning and told me to be safe since I was being responsible. That cop was nice, and I was an idiot for not checking."
"I used to deal blackjack at a local bar. Once the bar was closed for the night, it typically took us 10-15 minutes to close out and count everything, but because the doors were locked, we had to wait for the bar staff to finish their duties to let us out. The bar would close at 1 am and most of us would leave around 1:30 am. Each of us got pulled over regularly for suspected drinking and driving because we were seen leaving a bar parking lot after it closed.
I also had one cop pull up one night and try to ticket us for being in the bar after bar close. Only bar employees were allowed and we weren't bar employees, we were gaming commission employees. Not only would it have been an expensive ticket for each of us, but the bar itself would have had to pay a hefty fine per person.
The bar owners had their lawyers fight it for all of us and it got dismissed. It wasn't long after that that the law was changed from bar employees to anyone working in the bar, since the original wording would have made it so they couldn't have things like carpets cleaned after hours or any repairs or upkeep or anything, without paying huge fines and eventually losing their licenses.
It didn't take much to convince the other bar owners in town to band together and get it changed."
"I once got pulled over on a pool raft.
I was chilling at the lake one day when I decided to swim out to an island in the center. The only snag was that I had my Jack Russell terrier with me. The only option that I saw was to bring her with me to the island, so I grabbed a friend's pool raft, threw my pup on it, and started swimming.
Lake patrol pulled up alongside me and said that I had to turn back as my raft wasn't a 'lake worthy' vessel. Good thing I wasn't drinking, otherwise I may have gotten a charged with drinking and riding a raft that wasn't 'lake worthy!'"
"I used to walk to work every day, and I would only carry whatever book I was reading at the time and my lunch. I would bring the book home after work, stopping in at the local corner store to get a snack and drink, maybe a comic or two before heading home. This was my routine for six years.
One day, I got home, fixed myself a bowl of cereal and found something on TV when there was a knock at the door. It was a cop. Not just any cop, this was some jerk I knew from high school who was a bully then and somehow got a badge. The look on his face showed me that he immediately knew who I was.
Cop: 'Good afternoon. Did you steal a book from the corner store?'
Cop: 'The lady working says she saw you walking out with a book.'
Me: 'Yeah, this one (I picked up the library book I was carrying with me like 15 minutes earlier. It was covered in library stickers, and a barcode). I bought a 5th Avenue and a Diet Dr. Pepper from her, this book was sitting on the counter the whole time. She looked directly at it, tried to ring it up for me like it was merchandise, and I told her it was my library book.'
Cop (Real quiet, scoping out the inside of my apartment from the doorway, notices the literally hundreds of books I have sitting in any available corner or open space and on bookshelves): 'You sure you didn't steal a book?'
Me (making a show of thinking about it really hard as this nosy idiot is wasting my time): 'Yeah, sure didn't. Not today, at least.'
Cop (rolls his eyes and turns to walk away): 'Enjoy your cereal.'
Me (waving goodbye as he walks down the stairs): 'Have a splendid day, dark knight! Keep Gotham safe!'
The next day, I walked in the corner store and the same dumb woman was working the register and was on her cell phone with someone. I walked right up to her, waved the book in her face, and yelled, 'THIS IS MY BOOK, I'M NOT STEALING IT!'"
"I was the victim of a crosswalk sting operation where a plainclothes police officer stood next to a crosswalk that was not at an intersection but in the middle of the block on a very busy street.
The cop waited for maximum traffic on the street to abruptly step onto the crosswalk, ignoring every shred of common sense a normal person would exhibit. Everyone that didn't come to a screeching halt got busted, usually four or five cars at a time."