LPD explains traffic stop procedures

LPD explains traffic stop procedures

The Sandra Bland case sparked debate across the country, after DPS admitted the officer who pulled the woman over had broken protocol.

Troopers said Bland resisted arrest when she was stopped for only a minor traffic violation.

When an officer pulls you over, many drivers aren't aware of their rights and the rules associated with the traffic stop.

It's an unfortunate truth, most of us will be pulled over at least once in our lives.

"The first thing that I'm going to do as an officer is I'm going to try and look at everything that's going on in the vehicle," LPD Lt. Ray Mendoza

When the officer does approach your car, there are some things to keep in mind.

The first step is to make sure your window is down far enough so you can communicate with the officer.

"The officer needs to be able to hear you precisely and you need to be able to her him precisely so there's no confusion as to what he's saying to you and what you're saying back," Lt. Mendoza said.

While you don't have to give information that could incriminate you, you are still required to provide your license and insurance card. 
If you have a hand gun with you, you must also include your CHL.

"A lot of people believe, the citizens believe they can plead the fifth and not answer any questions or anything like that and that's false," Lt. Mendoza said.
If you're smoking a cigarette during the traffic stop you do not have to put it out.
"They may ask you but you don't have to," Lt. Mendoza said.
While looking in your vehicle, if the officer sees something illegal or out of place, or something that could put you or themselves in danger they will ask you step out of your vehicle.
"For example if he sees that there's drugs in the car he's going to ask you to step out of the car before you can destroy the evidence," Mendoza said. "That officer knows why he's asking you to step out of the vehicle and it's best just to follow instructions."

Lt. Mendoza said there must be reasonable suspicion or probable cause to ask you exit your vehicle.
If you choose not to comply, they are allowed to remove you.

"If the officer's intent is to place you under arrest he's going to have to take you out of the vehicle and he's going to use whatever force necessary to affect that arrest, and if it means pulling you out of the vehicle by force, they're going to be able to do that."

To avoid any unnecessary drama, Lt. Mendoza said remain as calm as possible.

"This is not the place to argue the citation or any charges that are alleged."

If you feel you've been wrongfully arrested or detained, you can contact that officer's superiors or contest the citation at Municipal Court.

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