Traffic stop etiquette, part 2

A continuation of Traffic Stop Etiquette, with more information and some updates to your questions.

As Bob S. asked here:

I’ve wondered about this. I don’t know and haven’t looked at the exact wording of the law but why wouldn’t a smart phone with current insurance information be acceptable?

It is proof of financial responsibility isn’t it?

I’ve talked to a Justice of the Peace, 2 DPS troopers, and a DPS SGT, and have gotten 4 different answers. Some say it’s okay, some say it’s not, each with their own slight twist and take on it. My thought? Just keep the newest card accessible and don’t take the risk of getting a ticket. One officer might allow it, while other might not.

Received via email:

I was issued a traffic citation for speeding. I was doing 72 mph in a 65 mph zone. I looked up the road survey, and it stated it’s safe to do 70 mph on that road. Could I use the road survey information to fight the ticket in court?

Sorry, but I’m not here to try and help you beat a ticket, no matter how nasty the officer was or the circumstances. My response is and always will be “seek legal counsel if you feel you unjustly received the citation or contact the court listed on the citation for more information”.

I will tell you, the state law says you must obey the road signs. If the speed limit sign says to do 65 mph, then do 65 mph. There are other factors than the road survey that determine the speed limit on a road, like number of wrecks, other nearby roads, etc.

Also, the speed limit on some roads are slower at night. There are a number of highways that run through my county. On most of them, the speed limit is 70 mph during the day and 65 mph at night.

From TS, via email:

I do a lot of traveling and frequently use my GPS for directions and other things. It gives me the currently speed limit of the road I’m on, as well as approximately how fast I’m going. If I got a ticket for going too fast, would I be able to beat the ticket by saying I was using my GPS for speed?

As I said above, state law says to follow the speed limit signs. If you follow the speed limit signs, and adjust your speed to the legal limit using the faster of the two speeds between your vehicle’s speedometer and your indicated speed on your GPS, you’ll be good to go.

Question I read on a web forum, and thought I’d answer it here:

Are radar detectors legal in my state? How well do they work?

In the state of Texas, personal ownership of a radar detector is legal. I can’t tell you how well they work. But, I will say, leave a little earlier and don’t speed, so you won’t have to worry about it. There are a lot of tricks that I can do with my radar to beat a radar detector, and I’ve got a radar system that’s about 5 years or so old.

Expansion on the previous tips:


2b. It is legal for me to approach on either side of a vehicle. I had one smartass tried to tell me he was going to beat my ticket because I didn’t approach on the driver’s side.

3. Keep your hands on the wheel, relaxed. Firmly gripping the wheel so your knuckles turn white is a big fight indicator.

Additions to ‘My Additions’:

1. Keep your pets out of your lap and away from the window too. I don’t know Fido or Max is just trying to get a friendly sniff or if he is trying to bite my hand off.

4b. State law says your not required to tell the officer if you have a CHL, even if you are carrying. It’s your choice. But remember, I’ll know when I run your DL if you’ve got a CHL or not.

Obvious stuff, part 2:

3. If you need to get out of the vehicle for whatever reason, say something. I keep a knee against the door, especially on the driver’s side, so if someone tries to open their door, they are liable to get smacked with it. One chick got her clock cleaned because she tried to get out of her vehicle with me standing at her door. “Officer, my (whatever) is here, and I need to get it.”, then wait for a response. I give a response either way. Even if you don’t like my response, realize I have a reason for doing so, like I don’t want you to get pegged by traffic or it’s an officer safety issue.

Traffice laws:

3. On head lights/tail lights/ trailer lights: The bit of “it was working when I left” or “if I jiggle/hit it, it’ll work”, doesn’t work. It wasn’t working when you were pulled over, so it is still an infraction either way.

(new) 5. Tell me straight up if you have an issue with your license, be it suspended, invalid, or it’s not your current address. You can be arrested and taken to jail for having a suspended license, which means your car is going to be towed, etc. However, you could also be easily told to call a couple of friends to pick you and your car up and be given a citation and sent on your not-so-merry way. That all being said, I like honesty.

I hope this helps. Remember, I’m not a lawyer or a judge. I don’t play one on TV and I haven’t slept in a hotel in a very long time. I’m just a patrol deputy. What each officer decides to do varies by jurisdiction to jurisdiction, department to department, and officer to officer. Just because I said I would issue a warning and not a citation or issue a citation and not arrest doesn’t mean all officers are going to do that. Remember, officer discretion.

So, any more questions, comments, or tips?


2 Responses to “Traffic stop etiquette, part 2”

  1. Charles R Irwin Says:

    It’s my understanding that if you are carrying, you must show an officer your CHL. If you are NOT carrying/don’t have a gun in the vehicle, you don’t have to show the CHL. When I’m stopped, I inform the officer that I have a CHL but that I don’t have a gun on me. They usually seem to appreciate that.

    • The law was changed in 2009 with the 81st Legislature. The law is still on the books, but there was a change made in another section that says you can’t be prosecuted for it. It’s like Homosexual Conduct. Engaging is Homosexual Conduct is against the law, but you can’t be prosecuted for it.

      So, if your carrying and don’t show, no criminal action can be taken against you. Hence, why when I went through the academy, they told us CHL holders aren’t required to show. It’s easier to say “not required to show” than explain that the law is still on the books but you can’t be prosecuted for it.

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