ASK A COP: At stops, right goes before left

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Victor from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine I’ve been a fan of your column for a while now and thanks to you I’ve received so many helpful laws and I’m sure life saving information about safe driving! My question for you is about 4-way stop signs. Officer Antoine, if 2 vehicles traveling in the opposite direction and both approach a 4 way stop simultaneously and both vehicles are wanting to turn in the same direction, which vehicle has the right of way? Thanks for all your time and effort to continue to educate the drivers of southeast Texas

Answer: Good question Victor! Always a pleasure to hear someone still enjoying this column. Thanks for being a regular reader of Ask A Cop; that means you’re part of the solution to safe motoring in our community. Right before left. Victor, this probably a question that many aren’t aware of the correct answer. Victor when two vehicles arrive at a 4-way stop at the same time, and they are facing head-to-head and one of the vehicles intends to turn right and the other intends to turn left, the vehicle turning right has right of way. The vehicle turning right should move forward slowly before entering the intersection to indicate to other drivers you are making the right turn. The driver turning left should wait until the other car has fully passed before entering the intersection and turning left.

Faith from Nederland asks: Officer Antoine, I’m having a debate with my sister over a light issue on a car. Officer Antoine my sister believes that if a bulb goes out while she’s operating a vehicle that law enforcement officers can’t do anything to her like get a ticket!

Officer Antoine can a driver get a ticket for a burned bulb even if they weren’t aware that the bulb had burned out?

Answer: Good question, Faith! It appears that you have faith (pun intended) in your answer rather than your sister’s answer! Faith many motorists aren’t aware that culpable mental states DO NOT apply to the Texas Transportation Code. That means the intent or knowingly committing a crime applies to other codes but not the Transportation Code in Texas. I had to explain that first before I gave my answer because any law enforcement officer can stop, investigate and issue a citation to a motorist found on the roadway of Texas with a bulb or lamp that is not working. Police officers don’t have to prove that you meant or had prior knowledge that the bulb was burned out, just that you operated a motor with a burned bulb. Faith actually if the Officer deem it necessary, the motorist could be arrested and transported to a local jail simply for a operating a motor vehicle with a defective lamp or bulb!

Janette from Port Neches asks: Officer Antoine, my sister and I were discussing your article the other day, and the pleading in a court proceeding came to be the topic of discussion. Can you help us understand the difference between pleading guilty and no contest in court?

Answer: Good question, Janette! There are only five states that allow the no contest or nolo contendere plea, and they are Alaska, California, Florida, Virginia and the great state of Texas. Janette, there’s really no difference in the plea of no contest and guilty because when pleading no contest in a criminal court, the punishment will basically have the same effect as if one plead guilty. What this no contest plea does is afford a defendant to go through the process without having to admit guilt by actually pleading GUILTY! If a civil action is filed after the criminal trial where no contest was plead that can’t be used as evidence against the respondent party of the action.

Join Officer Antoine for Ask A Cop Live on KSAP 96.9 FM, “The Breeze” radio station, every Tuesday for 1 hour from 1–2:30 p.m. Tune in and listen as Officer Antoine discusses in detail the newly released Ask A Cop article that printed in The News. You can also tune in via internet at www.ksapthebreeze.org. Feel free to call in and ask your question live to Officer Antoine at 409-982-0247.

 Remember to email your questions to Rickey.Antoine@portarthurtx.gov, or call 409-983-8673 and leave a message or voice mail question, or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 Fourth St., Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can Ask A Cop!