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The CORRECT way to deal with the Police

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  • RossA
    replied
    This thread has some good information. Please allow me to add my $.02.
    I don't get stopped for traffic violations often, thank goodness, but I have been stopped 3 times in the last 5 or 6 years. Twice for going 7 or 8 miles over the highway speed limit, and once for having a license plate frame which partially obscured the outer border of the license plate. Not exactly felonies, but police stops, anyway.
    In my limited experience, when the cop pulls you over and he pulls in behind you, before he comes up to your car he will radio in your license plate number to find out if there are any outstanding warrants, etc. This will let him know whether this might be a "routine" stop or if it might turn into something else. I therefore have a couple of minutes before he gets to my driver's window, which I use to reach for my wallet, holding it up in front of my face so he can see that I am getting my driver's license and CHL out to give to him. I then put the wallet on the dashboard so I don't have to reach down again.
    I then reach up to the visor where I keep my insurance card.
    I then put my right hand high on the steering wheel where it can be seen, and with my left hand I hold the 2 licenses and the insurance card up high where he can see them and my hand.
    Of course, I have already turned off the engine, turned on my flashers, and opened the driver's window.
    As the officer reaches my window, I hand him the papers and say "Officer, I have a concealed handgun license and there is a pistol in a holster on my right hip" or wherever it happens to be.
    After he takes the papers from me, I put my left hand high on the steering wheel where he can see it.
    All 3 times I have been let off with a warning. I think the odds are that I would have gotten at least 1 or 2 tickets from 3 stops, but I helped the cops feel secure and like I was cooperating, and I have to believe that is why all 3 let me go.
    On the issue of a search. I am a lawyer and I have been an adjunct professor of Criminal Justice as well. I have taught Criminal Procedure, so here is what the US Supreme Court says about vehicle stops.
    There is SOME expectation of privacy in a vehicle, but it is less than in your home since you are out in public.
    Also, since the officer has approached you, he has a right to act in furtherance of his own safety. Therefore, even at a "routine" traffic stop, an officer can require you to exit the vehicle, and he can search any areas of the vehicle which are readily accessible to the driver, where the driver could have a weapon concealed. This is generally known as the "wingspan rule", or how far you could be expected to reach from the driver's seat. By this rule, he could search under the driver's seat, in the console, maybe under the passenger's seat or in the glove compartment. Wherever you could reasonably be expected to reach for a weapon. The back seat is generally off limits without probable cause or consent because you can't reasonably be expected to reach for a weapon back there.
    He can also conduct a "pat down" of your outer clothing to see if you are carrying a weapon. This is not a "search", and he is not allowed to go into your pockets, unless the pat down reveals something which gives him probable cause to believe that he has felt a weapon or other contraband.
    I agree that if an officer wants to do a more thorough search of my car, I will ask politely "What probable cause do you have?" He may threaten to go get a warrant, but without probable cause he can't get one. Of course, we all know that some cops will lie in order to get a warrant. Especially if you piss them off.
    OK, back to everyone else.

    Leave a comment:


  • TLM
    replied
    This was written by a lawyer and he had it printed on business cards for his use and gave it to all of his clients to use for anything more serious than just a casual traffic violation...

    As far as I know it is not copywrited for feel free to use it.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    "Officer, I mean no disrespect, but I understand my rights. I have the right to have an attorney present during questioning. I have the right to refuse to consent to any search of my body and personal effects. I wish to exercise all of my rights. If I am under arrest I wish to invoke and exercise my Miranda rights and be allowed the opportunity to obtain advice from my attorney.
    If I am taken into custody, I request a reasonable opportunity to make arrangements to secure my own property. I do not consent to any impoundment of my property. If I am not under arrest, I want to leave.
    If I am free to leave, please tell me immediately so that I may go about my business"
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    It's my understanding that in some states they have a law that allows
    a "pat down" and pockect search for weapons of a suspect.

    Leave a comment:


  • ryantx23
    replied
    Originally posted by cwconnertx View Post
    Well in Denton, TX the person that I met with to discuss the citation had the title of assistant district attorney on her card. It was in fact municpal court. I told her I did not do it, and she informed me that if my version was correct I would be found not guilty, but would have to come back again. After already having to appear once. I have a job, and defending tickets isn't it.

    One the up side the DA lady was very nice and lowered the charge for deferred adjudication so low I couldn't see taking a day off to fight it. My resources simply cannot compete with the city.

    Plus she was a very beautiful redhead and very convincing... so I paid the money, about 1/6 of the original amount.. I am probably part of the problem :(
    I doubt it. It sounds like she was double dipping her duties. I can't really get started on our city prosecutor because I can't stand him! I'd always set a citation up for a bench or jury trial if you're going to fight it and you'll have a jury of peers to decide your fate;) Like I've said numerous times, I don't do my job to write tickets and generate revenue. I do it to take bad guys off the street!

    Leave a comment:


  • cwconnertx
    replied
    Originally posted by ryantx23 View Post
    CWCONNNER,

    Just to clear up any confusion, but in Texas a Class C citation which is every traffic violation besides racing does not go to the DA. DA is involved in Class B offenses and above. Class C are handled at the municipal court level and you do not have to hire an attorney at that level to represent yourself. As for the video, if you are in a situation and need video of it, you can request it from the Police Department. In almost every situation, the Officer is under Department general orders that he or she has to have that camera on and recording during ANY contact with the public and most especially traffic stops. Traffic stops are one of the most dangerous things an Officer does and the camera can't lie.... Hope any of this information helps. And as far as ticket revenue goes, I could care less about writing tickets. I might write 20-30 tickets a year at most. In my opinion, I'm there to serve the public and take bad guys off the street, NOT to make them money!;)
    Well in Denton, TX the person that I met with to discuss the citation had the title of assistant district attorney on her card. It was in fact municpal court. I told her I did not do it, and she informed me that if my version was correct I would be found not guilty, but would have to come back again. After already having to appear once. I have a job, and defending tickets isn't it.

    One the up side the DA lady was very nice and lowered the charge for deferred adjudication so low I couldn't see taking a day off to fight it. My resources simply cannot compete with the city.

    Plus she was a very beautiful redhead and very convincing... so I paid the money, about 1/6 of the original amount.. I am probably part of the problem :(

    Leave a comment:


  • methusaleh
    replied
    My $.02....some tips for handling a concealed weapon during a MV stop, that may make your life easier:

    Make sure to tell the officer WHERE you are carrying and the condition (ie loaded but empty chamber, loaded w/round in the chamber, etc.) of the weapon. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the stop, you may just be politely thanked, or the officer may choose to have you exit the vehicle and remove the weapon from you. Some guys I know will even partially disassemble the weapon and/or secure it in the cruiser until the stop is complete. Personally I never had a situation that made me want to go that far, nor did my department policy call for it.

    DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT reach for the weapon or be removing it from its holster as you inform the officer of this-- it will be the last move you will ever make!!!! I have heard of people doing this believe it or not.

    While we are on the subject of traffic stops, I would also like to say that you should tell the officer WHERE your licence and registration are BEFORE you start reaching for them, and only then do so in a slow and controlled manner. Do not go suddenly and quickly rummaging around in your glovebox for the registration. Do not thrust your hands into your pockets without FIRST telling the officer that you are doing that in order to get your wallet. EXPLAIN where you are going to reach and WHY-- BEFORE you start to make a move.

    Leave a comment:


  • ryantx23
    replied
    Originally posted by cwconnertx View Post

    I know it is stressful and dangerous, but we still all worry that someone will have it out for us. The situation for me has me seriously considering getting a camera installed on my dash so I can have proof my car (came to a complete stop, was already across the line before the light turned red, etc etc). The fact of the matter is, when the officer says I ran the red light and I say I didn't the district attorney backs the officer. Sure I can fight it, but how much time and money do I have compared to the city that uses my own tax dollars against me. They also help by signing each others tickets so it appears there were two officers in the car that stopped you when there was only one. More fake witnesses. Something has to be done to decouple ticket revenue from law enforcement, it just provides too much incentives for municipalities to pressure police officers to write tickets.

    Something must be done to put serious criminals away and keep them locked up. All these factors must be addressed, it can only help law enforcement do their jobs safely and more effectively if we can address the factors that create mistrust. Unfortunately the good ones are tarnished by the bad ones.
    CWCONNNER,

    Just to clear up any confusion, but in Texas a Class C citation which is every traffic violation besides racing does not go to the DA. DA is involved in Class B offenses and above. Class C are handled at the municipal court level and you do not have to hire an attorney at that level to represent yourself. As for the video, if you are in a situation and need video of it, you can request it from the Police Department. In almost every situation, the Officer is under Department general orders that he or she has to have that camera on and recording during ANY contact with the public and most especially traffic stops. Traffic stops are one of the most dangerous things an Officer does and the camera can't lie.... Hope any of this information helps. And as far as ticket revenue goes, I could care less about writing tickets. I might write 20-30 tickets a year at most. In my opinion, I'm there to serve the public and take bad guys off the street, NOT to make them money!;)

    Leave a comment:


  • cwconnertx
    replied
    Well said,

    We all know it is a frustrating job, that most go in with good intentions, its just that we all have to deal with the fallout and those who feel the badge makes them someone.

    Its sad that the system doesn't support the good ones, but I think bad news and wrongdoing are what makes the news in most professions. Doctors make news when they kill a patient, accountants when they miss fraud, etc etc.

    What you said is right, every time i pull over, I pull far off the highway and angle my vehicle in such a way that the officer is blocked from traffic. I don't want to have to be on the scene when the motorist who doesn't slow down or pull over kills someone, possibly trying to enforce a traffic law I may have violated. (not often)

    There is no reason to aggravate the situation, but plenty of reasons to be cautious.

    I know it is stressful and dangerous, but we still all worry that someone will have it out for us. The situation for me has me seriously considering getting a camera installed on my dash so I can have proof my car (came to a complete stop, was already across the line before the light turned red, etc etc). The fact of the matter is, when the officer says I ran the red light and I say I didn't the district attorney backs the officer. Sure I can fight it, but how much time and money do I have compared to the city that uses my own tax dollars against me. They also help by signing each others tickets so it appears there were two officers in the car that stopped you when there was only one. More fake witnesses. Something has to be done to decouple ticket revenue from law enforcement, it just provides too much incentives for municipalities to pressure police officers to write tickets.

    Something must be done to put serious criminals away and keep them locked up. All these factors must be addressed, it can only help law enforcement do their jobs safely and more effectively if we can address the factors that create mistrust. Unfortunately the good ones are tarnished by the bad ones.

    Leave a comment:


  • beebopcop
    started a topic The CORRECT way to deal with the Police

    The CORRECT way to deal with the Police

    Obviously this post is motivated by the "Police State" thread. I've put it here in "Contingency Planning" because it is a possible contingency everyday that we depart from our homes.

    No one can deny that there are bad cops out there. As a matter of fact, they are probably as many bad as there are good, if not more. Let me take a minute or two to explain why this is the case. The badge and the rubber stamp of authority that goes with it is a very powerful thing. More power than most young men and women know how to handle when it is thrust upon them. I personally know many officers that think putting on the badge makes them a man or a woman and they are nothing without it, which is very sad. Of course the reality is that you have to be a mature man or woman before you put the badge on. You have to be 21 years old to be a cop and few people at that age have the maturity to do the job. Most people come into the career with noble intentions. However, with bad mentoring, and too few good role models, they quickly start going to the dark side. Also, many of these officers get disenchanted with the job when the revolving door of the juctice system lets the perp go after the officer worked so hard to get them off the street. I could give many other reason but for the sake of brevity I won't. Also let me make sure that you understand, those are some of the "reasons", NOT JUSTIFICATION. There is NO JUSTIFICATION for a bad cop.

    So, the above being said, when you are stopped by an officer you do not know if you have a bad one or a good one. So how are you suppose to respond? In the first place, the officer needed one of two things to stop you; probable cause and/or reasonable suspicion. Examples of probable cause would be a busted tail light, failure to stop as a marked intersection, speeding, etc. Examples of reasonble suspicion would be swirving in traffic or crossing the white or yellow lines, your vehicle matching the description of a vehicle involved in a crime, etc. When you pull your car to the curb cut the engine off and stay in your car. If it is night time, turn on your interior light. Roll down your window and place both hands out the window or on top of the steering wheel. If you have a legal gun in the car, concealed or otherwise, tell the officer immediately. This will put him/her at ease and makes the officer feel that you mean him/her no harm. Remember, you know you and what your intentions are, the officer does not.
    When you are stopped do not immediately start digging for your license and registrtation because the officer does not know what you are digging for and it makes him/her more nervous than they already are. Thats right, the officer is nervous and scared unless he is just an idiot. When the officer ask for your paperwork please remember to tell him/her about the gun in the glove box, if that is where you keep it and your registration.
    If the officer is rude, continue to be polite and silently note his badge number and/or his vehicle number. If the officer ask for a consent search and you have nothing to hide, you can certainly say no. You can also ask him why he wants to search, remember your vehicle may match the one that was at the bank robbery that morning or the murder the night before. Now we are talking about a bad cop: If you say no to the search and the cop becomes billigerant, right, wrong, or indifferent, it is best to let him search and then report him to his Chief the first chance you get. You do not want this idiot to hurt you while you are trying to defend your rights, it's not worth it.

    The other thing that would help to keep in mind is behind that badge is a person. He/she works in a stressful, frustrating enviroment. We all have days like that, but for the officer, with few exceptions, everyday is like that. The officer that you are dealing with may have just came from a wreck, a suicide, a rape, or a murder, and you are the next person he/she sees and the officer has to change gears emotionally and mentally to deal with you and your situation.

    We have all heard of the police kicking in the door of a house with guns drawn only to find that they are at the wrong house. As things get worse in America and crime continues to grow as the economy worsens, these types of scenarios are going to become more common place. If this happens to you, do exactly as you are told and do not argue with the high strung cops who thought they were busting in on a drug or street gang operation. It will not take them long to figure out the mistake. You may not know this but houses are being purchased in very high class expensive housing areas and being used for the sole purpose of manufacturing drugs. So you can see how a mistake can happen even in your nieghborhood.

    There are to many scenarios to go over. But, to sum it up, it's not a perfect world and there are no perfect police officers even though we want them to be. What we mostly see when we talk about the behavior of cops is accentuating the negative and eliminating the possitive. In other words, when a cop does something wrong you will hear about it everytime, but you will seldom hear about what he/she did right.
    beebopCOP
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