LANSING (FREEP.com) — A police officer is not legally allowed to pull someone over for a traffic stop simply because they believe the driver is violating Michigan’s stay at home order, according to a Michigan Attorney General memorandum.
Although Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order mandates everyone except workers deemed essential stay at home, several exceptions apply. Anyone is allowed to go to the grocery store, engage in outdoor activities, pickup food from a restaurant and care for minors, elderly people or people with disabilities. The full list of exemptions can be found online.
Police cannot pull someone over to strictly inquire about compliance with Whitmer’s executive order, according to the AG’s office.
“The lone act of driving…doesn’t satisfy probable cause for a traffic stop,” according to the opinion.
A lawful traffic stop is the only reason someone may be pulled over. Officers can, however, ask reasonable questions, like the driver’s purpose for the trip or their destination.
If the initial answers given are suspicious, officers can ask follow-up questions. There’s no constitutional prohibition about asking questions to passengers in the vehicle.