PDA

View Full Version : Traffic Stop Question


epic4444
February 19, 2008, 09:18 PM
Not sure if this is the right area to post but its about guns and car and cops so i figured maybe....my question is that if i have a gun in my trunk...no ammo...just gun... and i get pulled over do i have to tell the cop or no?...and second at what point can i cop search my vehicle without my consent becuase ive been hearing around my town that cops are just searching people for no good reason...is that legal with no probable cause?

DonR101395
February 19, 2008, 09:25 PM
Would you tell him about the microwave you have in the trunk?

wyocarp
February 19, 2008, 09:34 PM
I wouldn't volunteer that information. I've been there in the back of the patrol car in handcuffs while two officers stripped my vehicle just for giggles and grins for over an hour.

I might tell an officer if I am wearing a gun and inform him that I have a permit if he asks for me to come back to his car with him.

ActivShootr
February 19, 2008, 09:45 PM
If the officer asks if you have any weapons, tell him/her. If not, you don't have to volunteer anything.

Shadi Khalil
February 19, 2008, 10:37 PM
I too have been in the back of a blue and white, cuffed while my car was searched. I didnt singal at a light, cop lit me up, i consented to the search. I was sixteen in a car covered in dead stickers with hair down to my shoulders, I had it coming...I only tell them if the gun is on me and loaded (the law in VA) or in reach and loaded. I've found that cops dont wanna be around people with guns, permit or no permit. When I tell them Im carrying, they make quick work of that ticket or warning and I'm on my way...

Capt Charlie
February 19, 2008, 10:42 PM
First off, what state are you in? Different states have different rules. In Ohio, you'd be OK. Other states? Well, I'll let folks here tell you the rules in their states, although I think you might have a problem in NY.

I might tell an officer if I am wearing a gun and inform him that I have a permit if he asks for me to come back to his car with him.
In Ohio, you must tell an officer immediately upon being stopped that you're packing and you have a permit. Otherwise, you're in deep do-do, and as soon as he runs your plate, he'll know anyway. Enhanced 911 systems sound an alarm to every LE unit in the county when a permit holder's plate or ID is checked.

teeroux
February 19, 2008, 10:47 PM
depends on where you live

over here only if they ask

epic4444
February 19, 2008, 10:55 PM
great old california...worst state to own a gun in!!!

BillCA
February 20, 2008, 12:12 AM
Epic,

You do not need to answer any question an officer asks you during a car stop according to the courts. It'll probably make him suspicious however. :p If the gun is in the trunk, you can answer "no" because the gun is not "in" the in car with you, it is in a separate, locked container called the trunk. That qualifies, legally, as a "locked container" for transporting your firearm (provided it locks and there is no passenger compartment easy access).

second at what point can i cop search my vehicle without my consent becuase ive been hearing around my town that cops are just searching people for no good reason...is that legal with no probable cause?

Short answer is no, that's not legal. If you are stopped for a traffic infraction, for which the nominal result would be a citation, searching your car without probable cause is illegal.

If an officer has good probable cause to believe you are committing a crime, about to commit one or you have committed a crime, he will search your vehicle based on his PC. If he's unsure his PC is good enough, he may ask you to consent to a search, either verbally or by signing a form.

Lots of cops will simply ask and some folks will consent to show how cooperative they are. Other cops will make it sound like a command "Would you open your trunk for me sir?" to which a legitimate response by the driver would be "For what purpose officer?"

What forms "probable cause" for a search?

[probable cause] exist[s] where the known facts and circumstances are sufficient to warrant a man of reasonable prudence in the belief that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found, Ornelas v. United States, 517 U.S. 690, 696 (1996); Illinois v. Gates, 462
U.S. 213, 238 (1983).

The officer's experience both personal and professional come in to play here. If the officer smells alcohol or burning cannibis this would lead him to believe the driver was under the influence and possibly has the intoxicating substance(s) in the vehicle.

Likewise, an observant officer notes that the driver keeps checking that the console compartment is closed may know this is an unintentional sign that a weapon is concealed in the console. If the driver appears jittery, nervous or distracted, this may lead him to conclude that the driver has a no-no in the console compartment.

Covert Mission
February 20, 2008, 12:16 AM
Cap'n Charlie:
Enhanced 911 systems sound an alarm to every LE unit in the county when a permit holder's plate or ID is checked.

I thought CCW permit holders were considered the good guys :)

I'm a reserve deputy, with a CCW too. I don't care if LE knows I have a permit and/or am carrying...I follow the law. I would guess, and it's only a guess, that most cops worry more about the folks packing who don't have a permit, and who they therefore don't know are carrying. Agree?

TexasSeaRay
February 20, 2008, 12:38 AM
my question is that if i have a gun in my trunk...no ammo...just gun... and i get pulled over do i have to tell the cop or no?...and second at what point can i cop search my vehicle without my consent becuase ive been hearing around my town that cops are just searching people for no good reason...is that legal with no probable cause?

Don't ask, don't tell works pretty good with cops.

When I was in that line of work (although we rarely pulled anyone over), if I wanted to know what was in the car, I'd ask.

Problem is, people get diarrhea of the mouth when a cop pulls them over or questions them, etc. Part of it is intimidation, part of it is "wanting to please," and part of it is a perpetual guilty conscience that may have zilch to do with whatever the cop is discussing with you.

As a civilian and ex-cop, my advice to my friends if they're ever pulled over, stopped or questioned is "Don't tell the cops jackcrap unless they make you, and NEVER volunteer any information whatsoever. Keep your answers confined to "yes," "no," "I don't recall," and "I don't know."

NEVER consent to a search of your car EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER without a signed search warrant. And while they're getting the warrant (takes a while), start calling every civil rights lawyer in the phonebook and asking them to meet you wherever you're at.

This probably isn't real fair to the good cops, but if you've done nothing wrong, you'll probably never run into a good cop. Good cops are out there working to catch real criminals rather than traffic violators. Good cops have no interest in hassling, intimidating and bullying otherwise law-abiding citizens who maybe rolled through a red light--good cops deal with REAL criminals and don't need to hassle Suzy Soccer-Mom or Andy Accountant in order to make them feel like "a real cop."

When I was undercover with the feds, I got hassled by so many dickhead traffic cops that I finally reached the point of filing reports on them with whatever state licensed them. Ones that insisted on searching my car WITHOUT my permission ended up wearing their own handcuffs and spending time in MY judicial system.

And some of y'all would be flat sick to your stomachs if you knew just how many ended up getting arrested and convicted for illegal searches.

When you go from "peace officer" to "law enforcement," it ushers in a whole new mentality. And I'm not sure it's the best or right mentality to have.

Jeff

Capt Charlie
February 20, 2008, 12:41 AM
I thought CCW permit holders were considered the good guys

:D Actually, it wasn't intended to do that, but the only way they could figure out how to alert LE to a permit holder was to add it to the wants and warrants file in LEADS/NCIC. So it shows up as a "warrant", except that the "nature" field shows it to be a permit holder. (Ohio cobbled this together pretty hastily, and there's still a lot of bugs to iron out.) So, when we run a plate on our MDT's (on board computers), the alarm sounds that a unit has stopped someone with an "active warrant".

That happens several times during a shift, & it's a pain in the butt as radio traffic goes crazy asking "do you need backup?", etc.

DonR101395
February 20, 2008, 07:12 AM
Actually, it wasn't intended to do that, but the only way they could figure out how to alert LE to a permit holder

Just curious, why do they feel there is a need to alert LE that the guy is a permit holder? Like I said, I'm just curious since FL doesn't do it.

Spade Cooley
February 20, 2008, 08:52 AM
First of all, If you have a gun in the trunk, you are not armed and I wouldn't volunteer that information.

Above all, be cooperative. You do not have to consent to a search. Just tell the officer to run you (he will anyway) and he will see that you are a law abiding citizen. Just tell them you do not want your seats removed and personnal property gone through. If he proceeds to search anyway, it is an unlawful search because he didn't have proble cause and anything he finds will be inadmissable in court.

Do not let him goad you into allowing him to search your vehilce. If it gets nasty, tell him to get a search warrant. Be cool and calm througout the stop because you don't have any choice.

wyocarp
February 20, 2008, 11:25 PM
In Wyoming, if asked, you must present your permit immediately. But the law doesn't say that you have to tell the officer.

Here in the northwestern part of Wyoming, Jackson Hole area, we have way too many enforcement types for the size of the area. We have park rangers, game and fish, highway patrol, sheriff, and city police. This is a one main road town and I think the different agencies have to compete with each other because there are only so many people here. I was pulled over for coasting by a ranger at 40 mph in a posted 55. He had his lights on on the side of the road (had no one pulled over) in a stretch that visibility is probably 5 miles. He thought I could have moved over further even though there was oncoming traffic, and he thought I could have slowed down further.

It was the beginning of bear season. I had a bear tag and was coming back from doing a little hiking. I was dressed in full camo, so he knew I had a gun. He asked, "By the way, do you have a weapon in your vehicle"? He kept telling me that he was concerned about his safety. He freaked when I told him I had three .500's on me. I hunt with pistols sometimes. One had a scope, one with open sights, and one in a short barrel carry type pistol. I've been charged by multiple animals before and so now I am not bashful about the firepower I carry because of the animals in the areas that I hunt in.

He called for backup. They kept telling me how cooperative I was being. I think I was too cooperative. I almost think I'd rather die than be in handcuffs again. I can handle a lot, but I can't handle being in a very small area in the back of a squad car in cuffs. I told him I needed some air when one of them came back to check on me once. Of course they told me to be calm. I don't know how to handle that in the future. Citizens who have done nothing wrong should not have to be in handcuffs.

wyocarp
February 21, 2008, 01:49 AM
By the way, this is what I had on me at the time.

http://www.nodakoutdoors.com/forums/album_page.php?pic_id=3299

One of the ranger's comments was, "This looks like it would be dangerous." as he pulled one of the .500's out of the shoulder holster while my hands were handcuffed behind my back.

DougO83
February 21, 2008, 02:55 AM
Just curious, why do they feel there is a need to alert LE that the guy is a permit holder? Like I said, I'm just curious since FL doesn't do it.

Because maintaining a CC permit does not automatically guarantee the officer that you aren't going to be ****** for getting pulled over and start shooting. Also, I have learned that LEO's don't like surprises, so it's best that you let them know you are carrying ahead of time anyway. In Texas, if you have a permit and are carrying and fail to notify the officer, you run the risk of having your DL suspended...unless they changed that recently.

Spade Cooley
February 21, 2008, 11:49 AM
WYOCARP,
I think I would complain to the higher ups about being cuffed and placed in a vehicle. They had no cause to do what they did and you would expect to find people with guns in that area at that time of year. If you didn't give them any indication that they should be in fear of their lives, why put you through all of that. That is about the same as approaching a man with a shotgun during duck season and hooking him up. One thing to remember, some of the people who are hired for enforcement jobs are not always the sharpest people on the planet.

TexasSeaRay
February 21, 2008, 11:59 AM
One thing to remember, some of the people who are hired for enforcement jobs are not always the sharpest people on the planet.

Understatement of the century.

Jeff

wun_8_seven
February 21, 2008, 12:15 PM
in oklahoma you are required by law to inform the officer if you have a gun on you any time you come in contact with them. your sda license can be revoked if you don't.

NGIB
February 21, 2008, 12:17 PM
Over 30 years ago I was on my first cross-country drive from Minneapolis to Phoenix where I had been assigned (Air Force then). Didn't have a permit but I also didn't want to travel alone unarmed. I had my S&W 28 tucked in between my right leg and the center console. I was about 30 miles west of Amarillo when the blue lights went on behind me and needless to say I was concerned. It was a Texas Ranger approaching my car and this guy was huge and well armed.

What to do? When he got to my window, I kept both hands on the wheel and immediately told him what I had tucked next to me. He reached down and put his hand on what I think was a Ruger Redhawk .44 and opened my door with the other hand. He asked me to slowly exit the vehicle - which I did carefully.

I then presented my Minnesota drivers license and my military ID card and explained the purpose of my "armed" trip. To my utter surprise, he grinned at me, told me to be careful and commented that I had done exactly the right thing during this stop. He then told me the reason he pulled me over was to worn me of black ice on the road up ahead.

Have had a soft spot in my heart for Texas Rangers since this day - this guy was a class act...

ssilicon
February 21, 2008, 02:35 PM
To TexasSeaRay: I share your distatste for overzealous cops, and especially ones who abuse and violate the law themselves. No argument there. But I take a different turn from you regarding law enforcement. Traffic laws are important, and I pay taxes which pay a sallary to the LEOs to enforce them too. They are important because the roads would be unsafe without traffic laws and rules, and those rules would have no effect if they were not enforced. In fact, I think it's lazieness and a desire to avoid stops (which always have the potential to be dangerous, or at leastr less comfortable than the patrol car) and paperwork. In short, traffic rules and their enforcement is very much important to all of our safety, and should be given the due respect they deserve. It isn't a priority over muggers etc, but if otherwise not so engaged cops should bust violaters.

Running red lights in my neighborhood doesn't make you Andy the accountant my friend, it makes you Andy the self important "-rear end of a donkey- hole" who places his own wants and desires ahead of the rights and safety of others.

buzz_knox
February 21, 2008, 02:42 PM
Traffic laws are important, and I pay taxes which pay a sallary to the LEOs to enforce them too. They are important because the roads would be unsafe without traffic laws and rules, and those rules would have no effect if they were not enforced.

Depends on which laws you are talking about. There are jurisdictions around here that get a considerable amount of revenue from speed traps (changing the speed limit abruptly around blind curves or along a highway where there is no justification for the change).

Slopemeno
February 21, 2008, 02:52 PM
Wyocarp- I think then it's time to turn the tables on types like that. When they take the cuffs off, say, "Oh, hey, no problem Say, mind if I get a business card from you? Just uh, going to run this by my attorney- I dont think you did any thing wrong, you understand, but hey you cant be too safe these days, can you? Hey, what was the incident number for this stop? And your supervisors name? Is he available, by any chance?"
Smile- be nice- but don't let it go. Supervisor, Chief, City Manager, and so on.

Prolanman
February 21, 2008, 03:00 PM
I wouldn't give any information unless asked. If the gun is not on your person and you are asked if you are carrying any weapons I would answer no. In NY you are not required to inform an officer that you are carrying.

Conn. Trooper
February 21, 2008, 03:43 PM
Delete thanks

grymster2007
February 21, 2008, 06:19 PM
I think I remember Mas Ayoob explain that when pulled over while carrying, don't say "I have a gun and a permit". In fact don't say the word "gun". Say something like "I have a concealed carry permit and I have the unit with me."

If it's in the trunk, I'd have to go with not declaring, but I would tell them if they asked.

james47
February 22, 2008, 12:18 AM
what If you don't have anything illegal,don't agree to a search (for whatever reason) than the dog comes up,stiffs around a little and tells the cop " This car needs to be searched" You are gonna get searched I mean every dog I've ever owned I could excite with my voice "What Is It Boy What Is It" Youre gonna get searched and they call it legal thats the way it works.

TexasSeaRay
February 22, 2008, 12:23 AM
I have no problem with people having guns on them, thats why permits are issued. However, its a safety risk to you and me both if I see a gun in the car or on you and I dont know about it before hand. I have to assume you are carrying it illegally, and then my gun comes out.

It's not up to you to "have a problem" with people having guns on them. You are an agent of the law tasked with upholding the Constitution and the laws therein as they apply to your jurisdictional authority and official duties.

Where I live, we don't have to have permits to have a gun with us in the car. And should I be pulled over, it's nobody's business if or where I have a gun in my car or what condition it is in so long as it is properly concealed.

I know all about the "suspect everyone, and treat every stop like it is Al Capone, Dillinger and the Jamaican Posse all rolled together in the car" methods and mentalities preached at every academy in the country. To a certain extent, there is some merit in that.

But it also is a wide open invitation for abuse based upon appearance alone.

I got rousted so many times during my LE days because of my appearance that I sometimes wondered if I wasn't living in East Berlin.

At one point in a northern state, the rousts on our unit were getting SO bad that we began taking cars from the impound/seizure lots, making 100% sure that absolutely zero was wrong with them in terms of safety inspection items, drove the absolute speed limit and did not violate one single solitary traffic law, let alone ANY laws.

Yet, we got pulled over and accused of "speeding," "weaving dangerously," "failure to signal a lane change," "brake lights not working," "having a headlight out, "incorrect license tag number," etc etc. All 100% bogus.

We had long hair and looked like bikers. We drove vehicles ranging from old pickup trucks to new Corvettes and Mercedes Benz coupes.

Once stopped, we were asked if we minded having our car(s) searched. We'd reply that we DID mind and what was the reason. "The Reason" ranged from "this car resembles a stolen car" (even though when they called in the registration, it was clean) to "we had a citizen report that someone resembling you. . ." and so on.

At one point, the rousts were becoming so bad that our SAC and the USA's office had us begin wearing little lipstick cameras and wiring ourselves for audio recording.

We only wondered how many non-cop citizens were getting the same treatment.

Funny thing is the worst the BS roust, the more frantic the apology and pathetic the explanation when you waved that gold badge in the offending officer/deputy/trooper's face and ID'd yourself as a federal officer and explained to him (and occasionally her) just how out of line they were and how deep of doo-doo they were about to be in.

All of a sudden, those "convictions" in regards to how the officer/deputy/trooper felt about what he/she was doing went out the window. Once called on their BS attitude and threatened with arrest and prosecution, suddenly the brake lights weren't really broken, the officer couldn't "exactly remember" the citizen's report, maybe it WASN'T me that was weaving or making illegal lane-changes (it gets confusing out there on those interstates).

In other words, real and valid probable cause suddenly vanished--imagine that!

There is more than enough REAL CRIME (read: FELONY crime) going on in our streets and communities to deal with rather than hassling otherwise honest citizens who "may have changed lanes a little fast" and then piling on about guns they can't see, alcohol that may not even exist or a search of a vehicle based on a combination of "a hunch" and "because I can."

You do need to answer some questions during a traffic stop, where you live, whose car is this, etc. Same as a "Terry Stop" (Terry Stops are well established case law federally). You dont have to consent to a search, however if you have nothing illegal in the car, who cares? Might get you out of a ticket. I dont ask people to search their car anyway, if I have probable cause I search, if not, drive safely.

Down below, you say I seem to be very anti-cop. Gee, with a statement like yours up above, I wonder why?

I've done nothing illegal, I have nothing to hide, so gee, what's the harm in letting my friendly state trooper have a go through my car?

And gee golly whiz--ESPECIALLY if it might get me out of a ticket!!!

Where do I get the bumper stickers that say, "If you pull me over, I'll let you search my car if you won't write me a ticket."

And some people wonder why I advocate having a digital recorder in their car at all times.

TexasSeaRay- What "Federal Agency" were you with? BOP?You sound more anti-cop than anybody on here.

BOP? Not likely. I was an 1811 agent with a Justice Department agency.

And because of my experiences and what we saw happen to too many people, I probably am more anti-cop than most folks on here. Or maybe I'm just not concerned about voicing it.

Yet, for the record, my best friend is still with the FBI in CT--has been with the Bureau for over twenty-five years. We go all the way back to boot camp in the service. Our academy was at the same place his academy is. I've got a cousin who is a Texas Ranger, getting close to retirement, another cousin with a major Texas city's PD in narcotics, another cousin who is with US Fish & Wildlife as an 1811 special agent. Lot of our family was military or LE, with most of us having done both. All of them have pretty much the same feelings I do about today's law enforcement attitudes and mentality. They just have too much time in to chunk it and quit. They're too close to retirement.

There are a lot of good cops out there. But they're being far overshadowed by the increasing numbers of bad cops. I blame the idiotic television shows like "COPS" for over-glamorizing the profession and attracting the wrong types.

Jeff

wyocarp
February 22, 2008, 11:06 AM
Conn. Trooper, I have to disagree with you.

Have to disagree with a few of you here. If I stop someone and they have a gun on them or in the car and they dont tell me, ticket time. I write about 10 tickets a year,I hate writing tickets, but if I am at your window for any length of time and I dont hear "Trooper, I have a gun on me, I have a permit" You are getting every ticket I can think of. I am a gun owner too, I have no problem with people having guns on them, thats why permits are issued. However, its a safety risk to you and me both if I see a gun in the car or on you and I dont know about it before hand. I have to assume you are carrying it illegally, and then my gun comes out.

You do need to answer some questions during a traffic stop, where you live, whose car is this, etc. Same as a "Terry Stop" (Terry Stops are well established case law federally). You dont have to consent to a search, however if you have nothing illegal in the car, who cares? Might get you out of a ticket. I dont ask people to search their car anyway, if I have probable cause I search, if not, drive safely.

Why does having a gun in the vehicle automatically constitute a safety risk? A cop that searched me told me he was doing so for his safety. I'm thinking, if you are so concerned about your safety then you need to get back in your car and leave me alone.

To automatically assume that it is being carried illegally is WRONG! It would be like assuming that everyone you pull over doesn't have a license.

By the way, if your gun comes out in Wyoming, I can shoot you and kill you. It has been done.

Who cares? We do! We are talking about our rights.

wyocarp
February 22, 2008, 11:15 AM
Slopemeno, your suggestion is well noted.

Wyocarp- I think then it's time to turn the tables on types like that. When they take the cuffs off, say, "Oh, hey, no problem Say, mind if I get a business card from you? Just uh, going to run this by my attorney- I dont think you did any thing wrong, you understand, but hey you cant be too safe these days, can you? Hey, what was the incident number for this stop? And your supervisors name? Is he available, by any chance?"
Smile- be nice- but don't let it go. Supervisor, Chief, City Manager, and so on.

I wish I would have had you there with me. Instead, after being what both of them said was very cooperative, I took a brief moment to vent.

I was working with some guys that liked to shoot and so we all brought different guns to shoot. I had about a dozen in my truck. That didn't help matters, BUT there is nothing illegal about that. As I told them, I have grown up in Wyoming shooting and hunting, and it's something I like to do.

At the end, one of the guys told me that he wouldn't want to meet up with me in the woods. I confirmed that in no uncertain terms.

brickeyee
February 22, 2008, 11:45 AM
"I only tell them if the gun is on me and loaded (the law in VA)"

There is no such law.
If you have a concealed weapon on you it would be in your best interest to notify (the cop already knows you have a CHP).

zukiphile
February 22, 2008, 11:59 AM
And some of y'all would be flat sick to your stomachs if you knew just how many ended up getting arrested and convicted for illegal searches.

When you go from "peace officer" to "law enforcement," it ushers in a whole new mentality. And I'm not sure it's the best or right mentality to have.


Reminds me of the joke -- How many cops does it take to push a suspect down a flight of stairs?

None. He fell all by himself.

Obviously, there are many policemen who are fine people. I do think there is a sociological or cultural problem in law enforcement, even in excellent systems.

In other words, real and valid probable cause suddenly vanished--imagine that!


The routine police perjury about probable cause does more to discredit the police and courts amongst poor urban populations than any other single act.

Normal suburban people who see the police as their private security service almost never see that side of the system, and can't explain things like the OJ verdict. Some people distrust the police/prosecutor/court system because they have experience with it being corrupt.

Conn. Trooper
February 22, 2008, 01:24 PM
Delete thanks.

Slopemeno
February 22, 2008, 01:25 PM
TesasSeaRay- you and I might not agree on some things, but WOW- more power to ya. Tell it like it is!

zukiphile
February 22, 2008, 01:41 PM
I see a gun and mine comes out.

That must cause problems back at the station.

Conn. Trooper
February 22, 2008, 01:45 PM
In hindsight, I dont have the energy or time for anti-cop bs.

Capt Charlie
February 22, 2008, 01:54 PM
*sigh* :rolleyes:

Epic4444 asked about an unloaded gun, no ammo, in a car trunk, in California. He also asked under what conditions his car could be searched.

What he didn't do is start a thread about good cops vs. bad cops, although I should'a seen this coming.

Closed.