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ASK A COP — No law against signaling and not turning

Racheal from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, thanks for taking time to answer our questions in your column. It’s truly a valuable service the Port Arthur Police Department provides to the city of Port Arthur and neighboring communities.
I am aware of the law in Texas that says a driver must signal at least 100 feet before turning. The other day, I was coming from shopping and was behind a truck that had his right signal on for over a mile. I thought surely he would turn at any moment, and that moment never came because the driver kept driving straight. How long can a driver keep on its signal without taking action before they can get a ticket?

Answer: Thanks for your comment because helping our community is definitely the mission of the Port Arthur Police Department that’s spearheaded by the Chief of Police Tim Duriso. Racheal, you are correct that the state of Texas clearly states in the Transportation Code that a motorist must signal intent to turn at least 100 feet before turning. But Racheal, in the case you presented where a motorist did signal their intent but never turned, there’s no law against such action.
Remember the Code say at least 100 feet but doesn’t give a maximum distance to travel with the signal activated before turning. In this case, either stop traveling behind this vehicle or make sure you’re paying very close attention and not driving distracted.

Carl from Groves asks: Officer Antoine I pray for the first responders and medical staff that are keeping us safe during this awful pandemic we are experiencing right now.
I’m fearful about catching this coronavirus because so many people worldwide now, especially in this country, are suffering and ultimately dying from this virus. My daughter is an essential worker and must report to work, so I become the babysitter for my 4- and 7-year-old grandchildren. From time to time a need arises that I must go places with my grandkids, but there’s only a seat for the 4-year-old granddaughter, and the 7-year-old says his mom lets him sit in a seatbelt like I do. My grandson is pretty big for his age, so what’s the law regarding children not having to be in a child seat. Is his mom right for letting him ride in the vehicle without a child seat?

Answer: We here in Jefferson County are definitely dealing with the fallout of COVID-19, as many citizens are routinely wearing facemasks and gloves as encouraged by national, state, county and local officials. There’s a child seat law in Texas, and it states that if your child is NOT 4’9” tall or 8 years of age, they are required to be in a booster seat. I understand your grandson is pretty big for his age but you will not easily encounter a child that is under 8 years of age that’s 4’9” tall or greater. So if your grandson happens to be blessed with height being 4’9” or greater at 7 years of age, his Mom is correct and you don’t have to have him in a booster seat. But if the grandson is under 4’9” you and ALL drivers are required to have him in a booster seat until he’s 8 years of age. It’s actually up to the individual motorist how long they mandate a child to stay in a child seat after 8 years of age or 4’9” tall.

JC from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, can an ex-felon own a firearm if he keeps it in his home for personal protection? I heard he can receive five years post discharge of probation or parole.

Answer: This is true according to the state of Texas laws, but federal laws are much more expansive in terms of prohibiting convicted felon persons from possessing firearms than Texas laws. Even though Texas law does not prohibit a convicted felon from possessing a firearm in his own home five years after discharge of sentencing, firearm possession by an ex-felon is still a federal violation, and ex-felons are still subject to federal prosecution.
Federal law says a person convicted of a felony grade crime can NEVER be in possession of a firearm. One way for any person to be clear to own a firearm would be a presidential pardon, and they are very difficult to obtain. Texas law says YES, but federal law says NO. So the decision is up to the individual, and I would recommend anyone to consult an attorney who specializes in such issues.

Join Officer Antoine for Ask A Cop Live on KSAP 96.9 FM every Tuesday for from 1 to 2 p.m. Tune in and listen as Officer Antoine discusses in detail the newly released Ask A Cop article. You can also tune in at ksapthebreeze.org. Ask your question live at 409-982-0247. Email your questions to Rickey.Antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 and leave a message or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can Ask A Cop!