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Is a Peace Officer required to state the purpose of a traffic stop in CA?

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  • Is a Peace Officer required to state the purpose of a traffic stop in CA?

    This forum has some great information about law enforcement. Thanks for helping answer questions that would otherwise go unanswered.

    In all the movies, T.V. shows, etc. the officer makes a traffic stop and asks if the driver knows why he/she is being pulled over. I understand that this is a good tool to get additional information out of a driver (like you pulled him over for speeding, but he admits it's because you knew he was drunk).

    My question is how accurately popular media describes what must happen: By California State law, is a peace officer required to inform the driver some time during the traffic stop conversation why the drive is being pulled over and why the driver is being given such and such a citation? Or can the officer simply say "Hello, license, reg. and proof of insurance; here is your citation; goodbye."?

    There's great info on this forum. Thanks!

  • #2
    In Texas it's one of the seven steps to a traffic stop. I always tell the violator why he has been pulled over.

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    • #3
      Can't speak for California but during my traffic stops I never ask if they know why they got pulled over....that leads people to start lying and I really don't like being lied to....I'll walk up introduce myself and then tell them why I pulled them over and ask for thier information....there's no law that I'm aware of that states I have to tell someone why I pulled them over.

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      • #4
        Required by LAW to state the purpose of the stop?......nope
        The posts on this forum by this poster are of his personal opinion, and his personal opinion alone

        "Politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed often and for the same reason"

        "We fight not for glory; nor for wealth; nor honor, but only and alone we fight for freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life"

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        • #5
          We have to have a reason to stop you (can't do it just because) but we are not required to tell you.

          You'll know when you sign the ticket.
          This profession is not for people looking for positive reinforcement from the public. Very often it can be a thankless job and you can't desire accolades, because those are not usually forthcoming. Just do your job to the best of your ability and live with the decisions you've made.

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          • #6
            When I pull you over your citation will have the reason I pulled you over for on it. Sign in the red box and press hard.

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            • #7
              LEOs in CA are required to advise an arrestee of the purpose for the arrest. A traffic stop is a detention and, although many agencies have policies requiring their officers to advise a driver the reason for the stop, it is not a requirement of law.

              However, the officer must advise the driver the reason upon issuance of an enforcement document.

              Remember, television is not reality and that includes "reality" shows. Not once in my career did I ever identify myself to a violator. If they cannot tell from my uniform, badge and other items, they should not be driving.
              Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

              [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

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              • #8
                Originally posted by SgtCHP View Post
                LEOs in CA are required to advise an arrestee of the purpose for the arrest. A traffic stop is a detention and, although many agencies have policies requiring their officers to advise a driver the reason for the stop, it is not a requirement of law.

                However, the officer must advise the driver the reason upon issuance of an enforcement document.

                Remember, television is not reality and that includes "reality" shows. Not once in my career did I ever identify myself to a violator. If they cannot tell from my uniform, badge and other items, they should not be driving.
                X-2. Additional comment(s). The proceeding reply reflects Alabama Law on the subject you've raised. On a personal note, I made it a practice to inform any violator I stopped, the reason why I had stopped them. That practice won't totally eliminate arguments, but it can reduce the number of arguments an Officer will get. It serves to inform the citizen that there is a definite reason why you're taking his time. He may not always be happy about that, but at least he knows.

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                • #9
                  The referenced seven steps on a car stop is part of Verbal Judo, oops, meant "Tactical Communication".

                  There is no requirement to tell the violator the reason for the stop, but I pretty much always do. It usually leads to him or her making some admission of the violation.
                  Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                  I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ateamer View Post
                    The referenced seven steps on a car stop is part of Verbal Judo, oops, meant "Tactical Communication".

                    There is no requirement to tell the violator the reason for the stop, but I pretty much always do. It usually leads to him or her making some admission of the violation.
                    So, the first thing you should say is 'lookie lookie here, this is what I stopped you for?'
                    The posts on this forum by this poster are of his personal opinion, and his personal opinion alone

                    "Politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed often and for the same reason"

                    "We fight not for glory; nor for wealth; nor honor, but only and alone we fight for freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Some infractions are so severe that it could be viewed as antagonistic to ask "Do you know why I pulled you over?"

                      Like when you see a driver exit his car at a red light, urinate in the street while drinking a beer, and then re-enter his vehicle and continue to drive once the light turns green.

                      In police work, that's called a clue.


                      If I roll up and see a guy stuffing his partner into a chipper-shredder, I'm cuffing him and stuffing him inside my patrol car. I'm not saying a word to him until detectives show up. They will explain things to him and take his statement(s) in a special room.



                      IF I'm only giving a warning, then I'll explain the infraction. If I'm going to cite them, I'll have the cite filled out and ready to sign when I inform. This minimizes roadside argument time. Plus, I don't want my eyes and hands focused on filling out the citation after they know they are getting a cite.
                      "Too many times, too many times payin' the price, just for the thrill" - Tesla

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                      • #12
                        Quick question, kind of random lol, how many copies are there that come with a ticket and where do they each go??

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                        • #13
                          I always do during some point of the conversation....no need to be a dik about it. I really dont know if its required or not.

                          4 copies here: 1 yellow for driver and 3 for us....dunno where they go after I turn them in.
                          "I don't go on "I'maworthlesscumdumpster.com" and post negative **** about cum dumpsters."
                          The Tick

                          "Are you referring to the secret headquarters of a fictional crime fighter or penal complex slang for a-$$hole, anus or rectum?"
                          sanitizer

                          "and we all know you are a poser and a p*ssy.... "
                          Bearcat357 to Dinner Portion/buck8/long relief

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by NextGenOfc View Post
                            Quick question, kind of random lol, how many copies are there that come with a ticket and where do they each go??
                            That answer is going to vary based on city, state, agency, courthouse, etc.

                            For my department there are three.....1 to the court, 1 to the violator, 1 to the department

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                            • #15
                              By policy it's suppose to go something like this "Good Afternoon, I'm Officer XXXX with the Birmingham Police Dept and the reason I pulled you over is xxxx, May I see your license, insurance and tag receipt?" Like I said that's policy, but I rarely do such a thing.

                              Also, we have 4 copies of our tickets, 1 to the violator, 1 to the precinct, 1 to the court and 1 for the officer to keep.
                              "Rollin and Patrollin the Wild Wild West of Bham"

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