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  • question re: scope of traffic stop

    when a police officer stops a motorist for a traffic violation what information must the motorist provide? license, registration and insurance of course, but does motorist have to provide both work and home address and phone numbers and name and phone of employer and a job title/description?

    does the motorist have to answer questions about where they are going or where they have been? what is a respectful way to decline to answer questions outside of those related to the stop with out appearing non-cooperative?

    if you are pulled over for expired registration tags and also are cited for an out of state license or failure to provide proof of insurance, and get the registration tags fixed, can the officer pull you over again the next time he or she sees you just to see if you fixed the license and/or insurance problems if you are not violating any other traffic laws?

    thanks in advance for any comments or thoughts. please also feel free to suggest any online resourses that you think might be helpful.

  • #2
    A current address and contact information may be required.

    Where you are going and have been is often asked when doing interdiction and or looking for further criminal activity. You are not required to answer the questions, but if you have nothing to hide then what is the problem? I cannot really think of a way to decline answering the questions without being confrontational. I have never had anyone decline to answer, usually they just lie to me.

    If you are cited for a status offense and the stop was based on driving behavior or another observable offense by the officer you cannot be stopped again for the status offense if it would not be plainly evident to the officer that the discrepancy had not been taken care of. Example, if you are cited for a suspended license on friday at 8pm and the officer sees you driving again at 8pm on sunday then he could safely assume that since DMV has been closed since you were last stopped then you have not fixed the problem.

    Hope that helps.

    -web
    "there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter." Ernest Hemingway

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by lawquestion
      when a police officer stops a motorist for a traffic violation what information must the motorist provide? license, registration and insurance of course, but does motorist have to provide both work and home address and phone numbers and name and phone of employer and a job title/description?
      Your home address should be on your license. You are not required to provide details about where you work or what you do for a living. If your refusal to provide that information on a routine traffic stop makes the cop angry don
      Cogito ergo summopere periculosus.

      Comment


      • #4
        [QUOTE=mobrien316]Your home address should be on your license. You are not required to provide details about where you work or what you do for a living. If your refusal to provide that information on a routine traffic stop makes the cop angry don

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by jakflak
          The home address isnt' always right. We have a right to ask. We can ask for any information that's necessary to identify the person. If someone isn't carrying a license, I'm going to be asking all sorts of questions to verify they are who they say they are.
          I agree. We have a right to ask anything we want. However, the motorist does not have to answer many of our questions.

          I believe the intent of the question was to find out if a motorist is required to submit to a general interrogation if they are stopped for a motor vehicle violation, and the answer is that they absolutely do not. Questions about the driver
          Cogito ergo summopere periculosus.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by lawquestion
            when a police officer stops a motorist for a traffic violation what information must the motorist provide? license, registration and insurance of course, but does motorist have to provide both work and home address and phone numbers and name and phone of employer and a job title/description?

            does the motorist have to answer questions about where they are going or where they have been? what is a respectful way to decline to answer questions outside of those related to the stop with out appearing non-cooperative?

            thanks in advance for any comments or thoughts. please also feel free to suggest any online resourses that you think might be helpful.
            If you don't want to answer any questions, all you have to do is tell the officer who is only doing his job that you do not want to cooperate with the police and that you want him to give you as many tickets as he can. That is what I hear when someone tells me he is not going to answer my questions.

            Comment


            • #7
              nevermind.........
              What is it about, "Thou shalt not.....", do some people not understand?
              Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

              Comment


              • #8
                thank you all for your responses.

                mobrien316 -thanks for the link to the sup. ct. case, that is exactly what i was looking for.

                i do understand that officers are doing their jobs, that it is a dangerous and often thankless job and that without their willingness to do so we would live in chaos. i also agree that i should provide the administrative information and responses necessary for the scope of a particular interaction.

                i am glad to see that some people who responded (who seem to be law enforcement) don't think that an officer's legitimate stop of someone translates into the right to ask all sorts of other questions or risk getting "as many tickets as he can" write. or that resistance to being detained for unrelated questioning or searches necessarily means that the person is a dangerous criminal or trying to give the officer a hard time.

                a person's right to privacy and to be free from questioning and searches balanced against the state's right to keep the peace can seem pretty academic until you find yourself being questioned and prevenented from going on your way.

                stalker3-where have you been in the last hour? who were you with? what did you do? my guess is you won't answer these questions because i don't have any right to know or "authority" to ask. as the average motorist i feel the same way. i think the sentiment you express evidences the need for limitation the protections provided in the constitution in the first place. i recognize that an officer has authority to stop someone for an infraction, but i think there should be a limit on what that authority is.

                as a civilian i tried to empathize with the officer. i was respectful, provided the documents he asked for and kept my hands in view at all times. (for the record the officer also treated me respectfully and courtously) i would hope that an officer could also be empathetic to the person stopped and know that just because that person doesn't want to sit on the side of the road and answer questions about things not related to the traffic ticket that doesn't mean that person has committed a crime or that they are trying to prevent officers from doing their jobs.

                finally, i just wanted to say that although you officers don't hear it often enough, the common joe does appreciate what you do. thanks.

                Comment


                • #9
                  [QUOTE=mobrien316]I agree. We have a right to ask anything we want. However, the motorist does not have to answer many of our questions.

                  I believe the intent of the question was to find out if a motorist is required to submit to a general interrogation if they are stopped for a motor vehicle violation, and the answer is that they absolutely do not. Questions about the driver

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Why are officers answering this in a public forum? (Just thought I'd ask!)
                    Extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice. Barry Goldwater

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by keith758
                      Why are officers answering this in a public forum? (Just thought I'd ask!)
                      Because this is an Ask a cop forum.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jakflak
                        Because this is an Ask a cop forum.
                        Not necessarily who is answering, but how they are answering.
                        What is it about, "Thou shalt not.....", do some people not understand?
                        Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My PD requires us to fill out all the blanks on a summons. The blanks include employer name, employer address, and employer number. We do it to ensure that if you don't come to court, we will be able to try and track you down when the warrant for FTA is issued.
                          If you refuse to provide information so that I can complete the summons, our policy is to take the individual to the County Jail and make them post bond on the ticket.

                          We will get the information one way or another.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by lawquestion
                            when a police officer stops a motorist for a traffic violation what information must the motorist provide? license, registration and insurance of course, but does motorist have to provide both work and home address and phone numbers and name and phone of employer and a job title/description?
                            As posted above, some states require more information than other states when issuing a citation (summons). In Ca. all the information I need is on your license, registration, and insurance. However, I will ask if the information is current / correct. After that...please wait in your vehicle.

                            does the motorist have to answer questions about where they are going or where they have been? what is a respectful way to decline to answer questions outside of those related to the stop with out appearing non-cooperative?
                            Normally I would say no. However, if the officer is investigating a crime (i.e. a burglary occurred in the area and your car just happens to meet the description or as in most cases a very vague description of a vehicle and suspect) then asking the above questions or others might be appropriate until the officer can determine that you are in fact not the suspect.

                            if you are pulled over for expired registration tags and also are cited for an out of state license or failure to provide proof of insurance, and get the registration tags fixed, can the officer pull you over again the next time he or she sees you just to see if you fixed the license and/or insurance problems if you are not violating any other traffic laws?
                            If you don't have the current year registration tab applied to the rear plate (Ca.) then probable cause for the stop exists and another stop could be made. Being stopped to check for compliance of an infraction without PC would not be appropriate.

                            thanks in advance for any comments or thoughts. please also feel free to suggest any online resourses that you think might be helpful.
                            Don't know if the above answers help as they are specific to Ca but, your welcome.
                            Job description as told by an old timer: "Drive fast cars, look at pretty women, and drink coffee".

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              [QUOTE=mobrien316]I agree. We have a right to ask anything we want. However, the motorist does not have to answer many of our questions.

                              I believe the intent of the question was to find out if a motorist is required to submit to a general interrogation if they are stopped for a motor vehicle violation, and the answer is that they absolutely do not. Questions about the driver

                              Comment

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