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  • Looking For An Explanation?

    When an officer approaches a car on a traffic stop and states the reason for the stop, are you looking for an explanation? For example, I am pulled over and the officer says "The reason I pulled you over is because you were weaving", should I start defending my actions, or just nod. I know she/he isn't asking a question, but are you expecting a reply?

    I never know what to say or if I should talk at all unless I am asked a specific question, so I generally just get the deer-in-headlights look and nod my head a lot. I know not to argue a ticket on the side of the road, but I would hate to keep the "really good reason for weaving excuse" for court when the "really good reason for weaving excuse" might be enough for the officer to not write a citation at all.

    Thanks for your insight.
    When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me."

  • #2
    How often are you stopped for this to be an issue???

    Good rule of thumb: if the officer asks if you have any legal reason or justification, give the reason. If not, don't.
    Originally posted by Ceridwen
    Just one would be stingy of me, I'd have to get two. For the children.

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    • #3
      Approach on traffic stops (like interviews) are as varied as Officers themselves. Some will inquire of the driver if they know why they were stopped, some prefer to tell the operator why they were stopped. It's not merely that we're looking for an explanation to explain whatever traffic violation you were stopped for, it's all-emcompassing. I want to see you. See your physical reaction to my presence. I want to smell the interior of the vehicle and the odor emanating from your person. Oftentimes, we don't ask questions for an answer, but what you don't answer. Physical cues mean more than verbal. I want to see inside your vehicle (plain view, is what I'm referring to, not searching necessarily). All of these things vary as do the traffic stops. I don't work traffic. Meaning, the primary function of my job isn't to issue citations or do traffic. If I stop a car, chances are it's the driver or a passenger that I'm really interested in. I talk to the driver to start working on what I really want...to get the car, to find evidence, to serve a warrant, etc etc etc.

      Officers that work DWI cases talk to the driver to get a sense of impairment. Narcotic officers stop vehicles to find the dope. The function of the job, the purpose for the stop and many other factors play into the conversation that takes place after the actual stop. Also, because we deal with humans, what you intended on stopping the vehicle for and what evolves from that stop are sometimes FAR apart. As many an Officer here can attest to, the simpliest stops morph into some of the most complex issues. I often joked that I quit stopping for seat belt violations because I found myself with dope, guns, hookers in the trunk, etc. All I wanted to do was tell you to put a seatbelt on, but on approach to the driver, things change. They usually do...just the nature of the job.

      I just realized after all my prattling that I didn't answer your question. *sigh* I digress frequently...my apologies. With regards to conversation with the Officer, just go with the flow. "The reason I pulled you over is because you were weaving." Some will merely nod okay. Some persons might say they just dropped a lit cigarette in their laps. SOmeone once told me the BJ he was getting distracted him. Yeah, I know. TMI. I thought so as well as the time. Regardless, most Officers get a pretty good feel of the driver not long after approach. Deer in the headlight looks are common for law abiding citizens that are NOT accustomed to dealing with LE in official capacity. Granted, it's also common for teenagers with dime bags in their pockets, someone with warrants, anyone with a guilty conscious....LOL
      sigpic

      I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

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      • #4
        IMHO I'd say something like, "Do you mind if I explain? I'm not trying to necessarily get out of a ticket, but just want you to know what was going on up here." - Make sure your "excuse" is legitimate. If the officer finds out you're lying about it, you'll most likely be pressing hard on 5 copies.

        I once stopped a young fella after observing him spin his tires. He didn't give an excuse or anything. I wrote a ticket and issued it to him. He then said, "I'm sorry, I need to get this floor mat out of here." I asked him what he meant, he asked if he could get out and then showed me a wrinkled mat that his foot got caught on. I know that he shouldn't be driving with "hazardous" things in his vehicle and it was his fault. But, I would have rather had him tell me BEFORE I wrote the ticket out. I ripped the ticket up, grabbed his floor mat and threw it in the back seat and wished him a good day. IDK, I guess it's on a case by case basis. Sometimes it's not what you do, it's why you did it.
        "I sometimes wish that people would put a little more emphasis upon the observance of the law than they do upon its enforcement."
        -Calvin Coolidge

        "Amateurs train until they get it right. Professionals train until they can't get it wrong." - Unk

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        • #5
          When I stopped vehicles, I advised the driver of the reason for the stop, asked for their paperwork, excused myself, wrote the ticket, got their signature and bade them good day. If I had a question, I would ask it. I never wanted an apology, explanation for their actions or an excuse. I know what the driver did and took the necessary action to correct their issues. My job was to educate! It was the court's job to assign discipline.
          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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          • #6
            I always explain why I stopped the driver and ask if there "is a reason for..." whatever reason I stopped them.

            In addition for looking for a valid reason (i.e. speeding because they are having a heart attack) I'm looking for other "things" that cops "look" for.

            But those are G-14 classified.

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            • #7
              My advice to you is to obey traffic laws and you will not get stopped any more. Problem solved. Merge back into traffic safely.
              sigpic
              Originally posted by Smurfette
              Lord have mercy. You're about as slick as the business side of duct tape.
              Originally posted by DAL
              You are without doubt a void surrounded by a sphincter muscle.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by SgtCHP View Post
                When I stopped vehicles, I advised the driver of the reason for the stop, asked for their paperwork, excused myself, wrote the ticket, got their signature and bade them good day. If I had a question, I would ask it. I never wanted an apology, explanation for their actions or an excuse. I know what the driver did and took the necessary action to correct their issues. My job was to educate! It was the court's job to assign discipline.
                Yup, me too. That was how I was trained........................also to avoid arguing with the violator
                "a band is blowing Dixie double four time You feel alright when you hear the music ring"


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                • #9
                  Not looking for an explanation unless it is valid (i.e had a diabetic emergency and the driver was trying to get somewhere to get cell reception) I look for honesty and for the driver to own up to their oversight...I had a guy yesterday that ran a stop-sign without slowing down. I approached the vehicle and he was rolling the rest of a joint. I told him the reason for the stop and asked him if he had any valid reason for running the stop-sign. His exact words "sorry officer I was trying to roll this joint and I wasn't paying attention." He still got a ticket by the way and his car was towed due to no insurance, no registration, and no drivers license...he did have his medical marijuana card which I used to write most of the ticket.

                  Point: all officers are different, all we ask is don't argue with what we did or did not see. We don't pull people over because we have nothing better to do.

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                  • #10
                    [QUOTE=RoadKingTrooper;2748730]Yup, me too. That was how I was trained........................also to avoid arguing with the viola^^^tor[/QUOT

                    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ditto^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Smurfette_76 View Post
                      Approach on traffic stops (like interviews) are as varied as Officers themselves...
                      To be totally fair, the state of Arkansas requires that, after pulling you over, I advise you of the following:

                      1. My name.
                      2. My department.
                      3. The reason I pulled you over.

                      This is somehow related to a settlement regarding racial profiling. I don't really understand why, and I really don't care.

                      So if you get pulled over here, that's what you'll get to hear.

                      After that, you can say whatever you want to say. But, fair warning, I don't like being lied to.
                      The academy teaches you skills, the street gives you experience, but it all comes down to your instinct.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SgtCHP View Post
                        When I stopped vehicles, I advised the driver of the reason for the stop, asked for their paperwork, excused myself, wrote the ticket, got their signature and bade them good day. If I had a question, I would ask it. I never wanted an apology, explanation for their actions or an excuse. I know what the driver did and took the necessary action to correct their issues. My job was to educate! It was the court's job to assign discipline.
                        Great answer! This is what I like to do.

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                        • #13
                          I will typically tell them my name, agency, the reason for the stop and then ask if they have any legitimate reason for doing whatever it is they did. If they're speeding and they say "well, yeah, my wife is back there having a baby" then that, to me, is a legitimate reason. If they say "I was talking on the phone," well, that's not so much.

                          By all means, if I pull you over for speeding and say...your car alignment is out and you're on your way to get it fixed, please tell me.
                          Originally posted by K40
                          To me, open carry is the equivalent of the couple making out and groping each other at the food court in the mall. Yeah, they are probably legal, as long as they don't start getting undressed. But they are still social retards.
                          ‎"You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him." - Rooster Cogburn

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dontknowwhy View Post
                            How often are you stopped for this to be an issue???
                            I get stopped a lot, or at least I think it is a lot. I don't know how many times a month the average person gets stopped, but I think I am above average. 90% of the time it is for "weaving" or something subjective like that. I usually get stopped on the weekends in the early morning hours, 2-3am, I chalk it up to the officers looking for drunks.
                            When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me."

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TeachMe View Post
                              I get stopped a lot, or at least I think it is a lot. I don't know how many times a month the average person gets stopped, a month??? the average person get pulled maybe a few times in their life, not month or year. but I think I am above average. 90% of the time it is for "weaving" or something subjective like that. I usually get stopped on the weekends in the early morning hours, 2-3am, I chalk it up to the officers looking for drunks.
                              You sound like your a danger to others on the road and that's why you are pulled over frequently. Have you looked into driving schools?
                              Ignore List : Bearcat357, Blackavar

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