ASK A COP — Do police tickets have to be signed?
Published 12:08 am Tuesday, August 23, 2022
Oliver asks: I have a cousin who recently, like last week, received a ticket and he didn’t agree with the police officer’s charge. He decided NOT to sign the ticket. The police officer told him very calmly that if he did NOT sign the ticket, he would arrest him and lock him up in jail! It seems like the cop went from 0-60 in no time flat. He didn’t try to talk it out, he just told my cousin that if he didn’t sign he would go to jail! Was the cop bluffing or could he actually be taken to jail for simply not signing a ticket?
Answer: It is that serious, well in Texas that is! Signing or refusing to sign your arrest citation is the difference between going home or to jail. When ever a police officer in the state of Texas stops you and issues you a citation/ticket for a violation they accuse you of committing, you are NEVER asked to sign the arrest citation in agreement with the officer, but you ARE promising to appear before the aforementioned court on the citation. So in the state of Texas if you fail to sign, the officer has no other recourse BUT to arrest the violator and transport them to JAIL. To make it even clearer, technically, if you are issued a citation in Texas, you are arrested and the officer allows you the opportunity to bail yourself from his custody by your signature on the citation, promising to appear before the court.
Cody asks: I tend to ride my motorcycle every chance I get when the weather is nice. Sometimes I’m stuck at a red light for quite a long time, often until a car pulls up behind me to trip the signal if it isn’t simply a timed light. I was told during a motorcycle course there was a law that would allow motorcyclists to treat a red light like a stop sign, in the event the light has fully cycled without the bike tripping the switch for the light. Is this really allowed or was I misinformed?
Answer: You obviously DID NOT take this course in Texas, did you? If you did, “YES,” you were given some very BAD information about how to handle a traffic light that won’t change on a motorcycle. The ONLY person in Texas that can wave you legally through a RED traffic signal is a police officer. No, you cannot take it upon yourself just to go through the light because it didn’t change, especially on a motorcycle. NEVER run a red traffic light unless instructed to do so by a police officer.
Lynne asks: Can you advise to use hazard lights if driving below the speed limit in bad weather. I just navigated through a heavy rainstorm on my way to Houston on I-10 and was extremely frustrated that every car in every lane, regardless of speed, had on their flashing lights (I was not). I couldn’t tell who was stopped or stopping and who was just using flashers because it was raining. My recollection of driver’s training in another state (perhaps faulty) was hazard lights were only to be used when stopped. The Texas Driver Handbook just says they are used to “warn others the vehicle is a hazard.” Please clarify if I should be more patient with all the drivers using flashers in the rain? I still think it makes it more difficult to tell who is actually stopped if visibility is poor.
Answer: In the weather condition you described, you and ALL other motorists should practice patience. During inclement weather, you will either practice patience or be forced to take patience. Meaning if the highway is crowded, you will just have to wait your time. There is no law that says you can or can not activate your hazard lamps while pulled over on the side of the road. Keep in mind if it’s important to warn someone approaching from the rear and front to pay attention to my vehicle, you are more that welcome to activate your hazard lamps if you are moving or parked.
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