ASK A COP — Do we have to give identification to police when we feel we have done no wrong?
Published 12:02 am Tuesday, May 23, 2023
James asks: About a week ago a friend and I were cruising around town enjoying the beautiful weather. Suddenly our day was ruined because we saw red and blue lights in the rearview mirror behind us and police sirens blaring for us to pull over. We were certain we had done nothing wrong. Here comes this police officer demanding we roll down the window, and all he said was just give me your license and insurance. My friend who was the driver began to demand the reason we were stopped. The officer ignored my friend’s question and continued demanding our identification. Do we have to give our identification to a police officer when we feel we have done no wrong?
Answer: It is not a pleasant experience seeing the red and blue lights behind your vehicle. Police officers in Texas cannot pull you over for no reason. Police officers must have a reasonable suspicion the driver or passenger(s)in the car has or is about to commit a crime to initiate a traffic stop. Of course this may be for some simple violation, like failure to signal change lanes or throwing gum out of the vehicle. Once a police officer has initiated the traffic stop under probable cause, YES you are required by law to identify yourself, even if at the time you feel you have done no wrong. You should not go back-and-forth with the police officer trying find out why you were stopped at that point.
It would be foolish of me to say that there has never, currently never, or will never be a police officer that conducted a traffic stop without probable cause. In the situation you were facing, I would urge you and your friend to COMPLY with the officer’s demands. Your friend and you should properly identify yourself with a state-issued identification card or whatever means you are able to truthfully identity yourself. Allow the police officer to complete his investigation to the stop. If you’re not satisfied about the legality of the stop, you can request to speak with a supervisor. If you feel like your rights have been violated or you have been mistreated during a traffic stop, don’t verbally fight your battle on side of the road because “YOU WILL NOT WIN.” Keep in mind that in southeast Texas I believe all departments have recording devices on their body or in their vehicles, so be sure of your facts when you complain because the incident will be recorded.
Pool asks: I want to be in compliance with the law because I definitely don’t need a ticket. I bought a new vehicle recently and my license plates just came in, and to my surprise, the front license plate doesn’t fit. The holes on my license plate don’t match the holes on my vehicle plate holder that came from the factory. What am I supposed to do? I’m not going to drill holes into my brand new vehicle. For now, I’ll put it on the front dash.
Answer: I’ve spoken with numerous of motorists who have experienced the exact same dilemma you’re facing. We all know the great state of Texas is a two-license plate state, meaning a license plate must be displayed to the further most front and rear of a vehicle. You cherish your vehicle just like many motorists, and drilling additional holes into the frame sends shock waves through your body. There are other adhesive methods to ensure your plate properly secures to the front mount. You can also order a bracket that displays your license plate legally in Texas without drilling holes in your bumper. The state of Texas doesn’t mention the plate has to be secured by screws. Placing your license plate on the front dash is NOT acceptable in the state of Texas. You can continually be stopped and cited for the violation. There are 19 states that don’t require front license plates, and they are: Alabama Arizona, Arkansas Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kansas Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana and West Virginia.
Melvin asks: I have a question about people driving 55-60 mph in the left hand lane on the highway. I see this all the time and it doesn’t make any sense to me because it ties up the traffic flow. The other day I observed someone driving slowly in the left lane, so I passed him in the right lane and got in front of him in the left lane and slowed down. He passed me back and got in front of me again in the left lane going 60 mph. What can be done about this?
Answer: We need you to STOP being a hazard on the road. Trust me, I do understand how you feel when you have a slow driver in the left lane. Keep in mind, you are NOT the police. The action you took was a mild form of ROAD RAGE, which we experience here in Texas. Don’t take other people’s disobedience of the Transportation Code into your own hands. Call your local police department and let them take care of it. I must say you are correct by saying the left hand lane is designed for passers and left turn makers. If someone is driving at or under the posted speed limit, they need to be in the right lane.
Join Me, Officer Antoine and the CREW Stephen “Buzzard Boots” Mosley, Lelo “mouth of Hwy 69/73” I Washington & Tejas “Lil Man” Morning Star for Ask A Cop live on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze every Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m. and beyond. Call in questions at 409-982-0247. You can also email questions to email@example.com or leave a voicemail at 409-983-8673. Mail them to Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public, you can always “Ask A Cop!”