Pull over.

Gotta love the Highway Patrol.  60 in a 60… All my papers in order… I was still held for 20 minutes while the guy ran everything. Nothing he could get me for. But I did get a warning for not pulling over far enough.  Great.

30 thoughts on “Pull over.”

      1. Yep. It ain’t against the law, but they harass drivers in Utah for this.

        Last Utah highway patrolman who did that to me got a bunch of questions from me concerning the religious symbol on the patrol cruiser ( the beehive ). He just got in his car and went away.

  1. Concerned? It’s not against the law to ride one handed. If it ain’t against the law or indicative of criminal behavior it’s not probable cause for a stop. Concern isn’t enough to initiate a detention. No PC no stop. File a written complaint. He needs to be corrected. This is exactly the kind of thing I rail about. It’s this kind of cavalier attitude about doing things the right way that leads to even worse civil rights violations. I know it’s a hassle but even if nothing happens the complaint is there. A pattern of behavior needs to be documented so if he continues the agency has no excuse but discipline. I guarantee mister canton pd started out doing stuff just like this.

    1. FYI, it’s not probable cause to detain. Probable cause (essentially, “more likely than not”) is the standard for an arrest. The standard for a stop (from Terry v. Ohio) is a “reasonable, articulable suspicion or belief” that a crime was committed, or will be committed. That is, what was observed must be something that would lead a reasonable person to believe a crime was afoot, and it must be articulable (ie, something you can articulate, not a hunch).

      But, in both cases, the key factor is that a crime is involved. The police can stop you if they’d like to talk to you, but they cannot detain you unless they are investigating you for criminal activity, or under certain other limited circumstances. The level of evidence of criminal activity that they need (RAS versus PC) is different for a detention versus an arrest, but the fact that it has to relate to a crime does not change. Detaining someone without RAS is, in and of itself, a criminal act on the part of the officer.

      Of course, you need to ask, “am I free to go?,” to find out if you are or are not being detained. If you don’t ask, he can just say that he was having a friendly chat, and he would have let you go at any time. It’s only if you are not free to leave, that a detention exists.

      1. Good advice. If you ask, “Am I free to go?” and PO doesn’t return your papers and let you leave then assume you are being “detained”. Which really just legal mumbo jumbo for “arrested but we dont wanna call it that.” Also if PO asks, “Do you know why I stopped you?” Answer, “No.” You didn’t do anything wrong so there is no reason for him to stop you.

        Digital recorders are your friend.

      2. You’re talking about a consensual contact which is different. If an officer pulls a vehicle over for a traffic violation, or a suspicion that a crime has or is about to occur, it’s a detention. There’s no opportunity to ask if you’re free to go until contact is made. If you doubt that then try not pulling over the next time you see the red and blues strobe in your mirror. Probable Cause for a detention must exist before a traffic stop is initiated. Otherwise it’s a contextual stop. That is a stop where the officer is hoping to find PC for an arrest after involuntary contact is made.

        1. No, I’m talking about a detention. The standard for detention is RAS, not PC. PC is the standard to convert the detention to an arrest.

          With RAS, they can detain you, telling you that you must not leave the immediate area, and they can frisk you for weapons, if the sole purpose of the search is to ensure officer safety, not to look for evidence. This is called a Terry stop&frisk. After the frisk, if they perform one, they must allow you physical movement again, but you may not leave the immediate area.

          With PC, they can actually cuff you, lock you up, and take you elsewhere (arrest). They can also perform a more detailed search of you and anything that was in your immediate control during the time leading up to the arrest.

          So, they can stop you and detain you if they have RAS. If they find PC, subsequently, they can convert the detention to an arrest. If not, they must end the detention in a “reasonable” timeframe. There’s no set standard, but the rule of thumb I’ve heard most often is half an hour. If someone felt that a detention was excessively-long, that individual could seek redress in the courts, and hole a judge would agree. But it’s really up to the whim of the judge.

          The police are, legally, allowed to pull you over without any PC or RAS. For example, an officer might be heading away from an accident, see you heading towards it, pull a U-turn and light you up so that you will stop, such that he can warn you that the road is blocked. Because of their charge to protect public safety, separate from enforcing laws, most (probably all) states say that they have the authority to stop you in order to speak with you, and that you must pull over in response, since there’s no other way he can communicate with you while you are driving. The courts do not consider that a detention, because the officer would have to answer, “yes,” if you asked if you were free to go, as soon as you had the opportunity. In that case, though, they won’t be asking for your papers and such.

          But, we’re getting into details here. Your original point was valid – they need to be investigating a crime, to detain you, regardless of what evidentiary standard is in play. If the officer stops you and holds you because he’s fishing, that’s an unlawful detention, and a criminal act on the part of the officer.

    2. Eric: They used to write tickets for this in Utah, before a federal judge was involved by an irate out-of-state driver, and got this silliness thrown out.

      So now they are reduced to harassing in state residents who don’t reflexively put both hands on the wheel when a cop goes by. You won’t get them to stop by complaining, because they are ALL butthurt that they can’t make a one-hand ticket stick anymore.

  2. The heads of the various state Highway patrols will swear they don’t have a quota system. How ever you get some headquarters guys off the record and they say to get the fed money they have to show enforcement of traffic laws and that means tickets issued so an “unofficial” quota system develops.
    Bike riders and out of state plates will attract more attention for that reason.

    1. There’s no ticket quota. They just require that each officer make a certain number of stops. And if too small a percentage of stops result in tickets, they take him to task for pulling drivers over without cause.

      So, for example, they might insist that each officer make 150 stops per month. And they might chew him out if he doesn’t give tickets in at least 30% of stops.

      But, in their fevered imaginations, that’s not a quota of 45 tickets.

  3. Sorry George. It’s a public road. Therefore the government has every right to detain, question, and search anyone using it. You consented to this when you chose to drive.

    It’s not a violation of the 4th amendment because you can always choose not to ride on the public roads.

    Also, complaining about it on your blog may put your right to carry a firearm at risk.

    (This is satire… for now… )

    1. Wrong.

      Police can pull you over if they see you are committing an infraction. They can check your license, registration, and insurance during this time. The cannot do a terry frisk unless they also detain you, which requires a RAS ( reasonable articulable suspicion ) of an actual crime.

      They can ask any questions they want ( as can ANY other person in existence ) … and you don’t have to say a damned thing.

      If they don’t write a ticket, they can be sued for harassment, which explains Ogre’s bullshit obstructing traffic warning.

      1. How can satire be “wrong” and have you presented this argument to the TSA?

        Did you not make the connection?

        1. Satire and sarcasm are dangerous in print. Read what you wrote in a monotone, and it sounds like an authoritarian rant. Authors like Swift can pull it off, but I can’t, and won’t even try without marking it as such.

          As for customs and immigration:

          Customs and immigration has a federal nexus that is allowed by the Constitution. They are required to check baggage for dutiable items, contraband, and to control immigration at border crossings.

          This is not the same as minding one’s own business while using a road. Those 15 mile checkpoints they keep near the borders are legally very questionable. They figleaf them by claiming they are only “contacting” people who pass through.

          1. Um, it says, “(This is satire… for now… ),” right at the bottom of the post…

            FYI, there’s actually no Constitutional authority for the Feds controlling immigration. Their only Constitutional authority in the matter is controlling naturalization. The States are supposed to be in charge of immigration, and the Feds in charge of who, among the immigrants, gets to become a citizen. I’m not saying that it’s a perfect system, or that I condone it, but any deviation from that would, lawfully, require an Amendment.

  4. I just don’t get that, and I’ve been doing this for nearly 23 years altogether. The vast majority of the time, my traffic enforcement is done on what I call a “Holy S#$T!!!” basis…..meaning if some driving behavior I see causes me to utter that phrase, I’ll start reaching for the light switch. And, even then, about half the time it ends up with a warning.

    I’ll also act on BLATANT minor violations, but those always get a warning or fixit ticket. I recently pulled over a kid who had one of those LED light strips between the tailgate and bumper of his pickup. It was blue. That’s a no-no according to our state law. I told him exactly what the law said. He offered to disconnect the light strip on the spot, and did so. I thanked him, and he went on his way. Took about three minutes, tops. Problem identified, problem solved, no unnecessary drama or hurt feelings.

    I don’t have a quota. I can write as many tickets as I want. But when I do reports, I like to be able to put an actual person’s name in the “victim” field…..

    1. I once saw a guy chatting on his cell phone, no headset, driving alone in the HOV on ramp.

      He cut me off and skipped two lanes to get to main HOV lane, without signaling, causing other cars to hit their brakes.

      He was a fat guy in a blue oxford dress shirt and a tie.

      He was driving a marked King Country Sheriffs car.

      Traffic laws are for the little people.

      1. You need to make a complaint when you see something like that.

        Patrol cars have numbers on them for a reason. And I’m talking about the decal numbers on the side and/or back. Much simpler to remember than license plate numbers, and easier for the Sheriff to track down who was driving that car at that time.

        There’s a flip side to “traffic laws are for the little people”, you see. “The little people” don’t normally get unpaid days off for minor traffic violations. Because, let’s face it, if that car you saw had said “Taxi” on the side, or “Pizza Hut”, what you saw wouldn’t have been considered scandalous or even embarassing in the least, albeit no less illegal. No, it’s the hypocrisy factor at play here. Taxi and pizza drivers do not enforce the laws they violate….

    2. They needs YOU on the VA state police.You and my officer son are the good guys.It seems so many officers just don’t have a clue how they are perceived.Every person who is mistreated TALKS-and talks a lot.

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