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ASK A COP — Can I refuse a police officer’s order to exit the vehicle?

Morris from Port Arthur asks: If I’m stopped by a police officer for speeding and I show my driver’s license and insurance card and the officer then asks me to get out of my vehicle, do I have the right to refuse? With everything that’s going on right now, I really wouldn’t feel comfortable getting out of my vehicle for a police officer I don’t know!

Answer: I know the relations between law enforcement and its citizenry are strained at a level I’ve NEVER witnessed before in this nation. But I ask that you and all readers to simply comply during a traffic stop. With that said, Morris, YES a motorist MUST exit a vehicle when ordered to do so by a police officer during a lawful traffic stop. On the side of the road is the wrong place to get into a debate with a police officer about your rights. I know there are several videos that show motorists ignoring police officers’ commands and refusing to exit their vehicle, but keep in mind in the state of Texas, you must comply and exit your vehicle when ordered to do so by a police officer.

Margaret from Bridge City asks: I have a question about the lighted sign boards on the highway. The signs have not given the total deaths on the Texas highways in 2020. This information used to be updated each month. What happened to the monthly update by the Texas Department of Transportation?

Answer: The sad truth is the signs that display the unfortunate number of lives that are lost on the roadways of Texas are NEVER correct. We unfortunately average 8-10 daily, so when even TxDOT compiles their number from the cutoff date there are always other reports that haven’t been accounted for by TxDOT. I am aware the state had some type of computer issues because we weren’t able to upload needed information to the state either, so maybe that’s the problem. As of two weeks ago I believe the problem was corrected.

Christine from Port Arthur asks: I was discussing driving laws with my cousin the other day, and we got on the subject of outstanding warrants for arrest. She said a coworker of hers had outstanding warrants for driving infractions committed in a different city and her license was suspended because of the warrant. This blew me away and I can’t seem to believe this to be true. Can you get points on your license or have your license suspended for having outstanding warrants for your arrest for traffic infractions?

Answer: I don’t believe the state will suspend your license either for an outstanding warrant for a traffic citation, but the state can/will DENY renewal of said driver license if a court reports to the state that said license holder failed to report to court, or failed to complete the payment agreement. Under the Failure to Appear/Failure to Pay Program, the department may deny the renewal, and your license will not be able to be renewed until obligations has been satisfied with every court that reported to the state your active warrant status. Once a license holder has satisfied the court, they are able to approach the department to renew their license.

Join Officer Rickey Antoine for Ask A Cop Live on KSAP 96.9 FM every Tuesday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Tune in and listen as Officer Antoine discusses the newly released Ask A Cop article. You can also tune in at ksapthebreeze.org. Ask your question live at 409-982-0247. Email 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!