(September 28, 2022) The state of Texas has seen a significant surge of California residents moving in since 2020. In fact, a San Antonio Express-News report found that 92,560 California residents have forfeited their driver’s licenses after moving to Texas from 2020 to January 2022. In a recent viral Tik Tok video, a California comedian who had moved to Austin detailed his experiences in Texas traffic stops. According to the comedian, avoiding a traffic ticket from a Texan police officer is easy if you passionately share your personal reasons for “fleeing” California with the officer. While funny, this is not good advice for interacting with police officers during a traffic stop. In this article, we’ll go over the steps to take if you have been pulled over by a police officer so that the interaction is safe and non-confrontational for yourself and the officer.
Did you know?
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, new Texas residents have a 90-day grace period before being required to register for a Texas driver’s license.
What To Do During a Traffic Stop
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has a list of guidelines to follow when being pulled over for a traffic stop by law enforcement. Let’s go over a few of these suggestions and discuss your rights in this kind of situation.
Pull your vehicle off of the highway in a well-lit, populated area (if possible) – With all of the construction limiting or eliminating the shoulder on the highway, it is usually unsafe to try to pull over to the right shoulder. However, the law demands that you stop immediately for a traffic officer. If you feel it is unsafe to stop, slow down, turn on your hazard lights to demonstrate your compliance, and listen for the officer to give further directions. Once parked, set your emergency brakes and turn off your engine while leaving your hazard lights on.
Place your hands on the wheel and turn on your interior lights if it is dark – While remaining in your vehicle, make sure your hands are clearly visible to the officer on the steering wheel. The officer may approach from either side of the vehicle, so this position allows them to see your hands from either side of the vehicle.
Refrain from reaching for insurance or ID until you have informed the officer of the item’s location and received instructions to retrieve them – Never reach for anything in your vehicle without the officer’s permission. Additionally, if you have a firearm in your vehicle, you are required to inform the officer. Failure to do this could lead to having your LTC revoked.
Know Your Rights
Most police officers serving the San Antonio area are dedicated and honest public servants who have your safety in mind. However, as with every other profession, this is not always the case, and you need to know your rights in case an officer tries to push the limits. Always remember to avoid being confrontational and remain calm in any situation.
You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer questions if you don’t want to, and you may verbalize your desire to exercise that right.
You have the right to refuse a search of yourself or your vehicle. The police may pat you down if they believe you are hiding a weapon, but if they ask for further search or a search of your vehicle, you have the right to say no.
If you are not under arrest, you are free to leave. Additionally, if you are placed under arrest, you have the right to know why.
If you believe your rights have been violated in a Texas traffic stop, contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Carabin Shaw today at 800-862-1260.