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ASK A COP: Do you have to get out of the car when a police officer asks?

Martin from Port Arthur asks:  The other day my buddy was stopped by the police. I was a passenger in the car. No sure why, but the cop asked us to get out of the car. We did as he asked.  I figured complying was the best thing to do. The cop wrote my buddy a ticket and let us go. Did we have to get out of the car? Looking for answers.

Answer: This is a very timely and sensitive subject because of the current public perception of law enforcement in this nation. Martin, “YES,” all motorists and passengers that have been stopped by law enforcement officers are required by law to comply and get out of the vehicle if demanded to do so on a traffic stop. Most people believe the opposite, but this very issue has been argued and presented to the highest court in our nation (U.S. Supreme Court) and they have agreed that police officers have the right during a legal traffic stop to order occupants to exit the vehicle. Martin, I’m glad to hear you and your friend decided to comply to the officer’s instructions and exit the vehicle. I’ve always been a fan of complying to police orders. If I’m not happy with the way I was treated during the stop, I complain to the department later. Martin, with many being fearful of law enforcement officers, citizens will find themselves refusing the lawful order to exit the vehicle, believing it’s their right to do so. They are totally WRONG! Here’s are a couple of case laws you can research on the subject. Remember, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly and unequivocally held that officers may order the driver and any passengers to get out of the car until the traffic stop is over (Maryland v. Wilson, 519 U.S. 408 (1997); Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U.S. 106 (1977)

EJ from Groves asks: I was wondering about the legality concerning radars in cars. I really don’t see how they’re legal. I’m from Virginia, and radar detectors are a big NO NO there. I’m working in Texas right now. I love the state, not the weather, but several of my co workers have radar detectors in their vehicles. Can motorists have radar detectors in their cars in Texas?

Answer: Welcome to Texas! Radar detectors are legal in the great state of Texas to have in passenger vehicles, but it is illegal to have radar detectors in commercial vehicles. Actually, radar detectors are legal in every state in this country except Virginia, so you’re in Texas now and you’re able to obtain a radar detector legally. “Why” do you want a radar detector in your vehicle? Radar detectors can alert a motorist of the near presence of a police radar that is meant to detect speeders. So if you’re not speeding, why would you want to know where police officers that are working to slow down speeders? It always amazes me when I stop a speeding motorist that has a radar detector in the vehicle and they tell me they don’t usually speed. Why get radar detectors if you’re not a law-breaking speeder?

Jon from Port Arthur asks: There are a few people I see riding ATVs (4 wheelers) on the streets of Port Arthur. They don’t have on helmets and they are riding all times of the day. Can someone legally ride a ATV on the streets in Port Arthur?

Answer: ATVs are NOT street legal in the city of Port Arthur! All of the ATVs that are riding on the streets of Port Arthur are NOT legal. The Port Arthur Police Department spoke on this issue at a city council meeting a couple of weeks ago. It was suggested the lack of knowledge of the law is a major contributor to the increased number of ATV riders on our streets. The only people that have exemption to ride ATVs on roadways are (1) a farmer or rancher travelling less than 25 miles; (2) a public utility worker; or (3) a law enforcement officer. ATVs are to be rode on private property only, not city streets, nor parks or other citizens’ property without their permission. Additionally, ATV riders must be at least 14 years old, unless accompanied by parent or guardian or in direct supervision of someone authorized by parent or guardian of the child rider. At this time there’s no registration for ATVs but you can get a title for them. If you see someone riding on a ATV on a city street or park and it looks like a fun thing to do, remember they’re breaking the law and are subject to being cited or arrested

Join Officer Rickey Antoine for Ask A Cop Live on KSAP 96.9 FM “The Breeze” every Tuesday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. You can also tune in via ksapthebreeze.org. Call in your questions live at 409-982-0247. Remember to email your questions to Rickey.Antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 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!