ASK A COP — Do I have to sign a ticket when issued one by police?

Published 2:06 pm Monday, January 24, 2022

Derrick from Groves asks: Over the holiday, I was discussing with a family member your article and my cousin said he was stopped by a police officer and the officer wrote the ticket for speeding and he refused to sign the ticket. So his story goes that the officer took out a pair of his handcuffs and actually threatened to arrest him if he didn’t sign the ticket. Now, Officer Antoine, I know my cousin is a little full of it at times. But is this true that a police officer can arrest a motorist for simply not signing the citation if he doesn’t agree with the officer’s charge?

Answer: I think that most of the readers have had an encounter on side of the road where a law enforcement officer either issued a citation or a verbal/or written citations. YES, YES, YES, you can easily be arrested and transported to JAIL in the state of Texas if you fail to simply sign the promise to appear portion of the citation. It is the officer’s duty to notify you of your charges, court date and place and time to appear. It is YOUR responsibility to keep the copy and abide by the instruction on it. I’ve had motorists tear the citation up right in front of me. There’s nothing I can do about it but remind them that was for them to remember their court date. I’ve had drivers ball the citation up and throw it in the bed of their truck or backseat of their car. Even had a few who were so angry they balled the ticket up and threw it out of the window on the ground. WRONG answer throwing it on the ground, because now you have committed another crime … littering. Don’t do that. Derrick. You’re welcome to do whatever your heart desires to the copy of YOUR citation but you MUST sign it promising to appear before the aforementioned court. Not that you agree with the charge, but you PROMISE TO APPEAR or expect to be handcuffed and placed in a patrol vehicle and transported to jail just because you didn’t sign the citation. This is the law all over the state of Texas. If anyone refuses to sign the citation, we MUST arrest. KEEP IN MIND, YOU ARE ONLY PROMISING TO APPEAR IN COURT, NOT AGREEING TO THE CHARGE(S).

Jorge from Port Arthur asks: I have recently adopted a 5-year-old girl/daughter. She is tall for her age. At what age can she sit in the front seat of my car?

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Answer: First, I’d like to congratulate you on the new addition of a lovely young girl to your family! I’m asked this question constantly because apparently someone started the rumor that someone has to be a certain age to ride in a particular seat position in a motor vehicle. Jonathan, you can sit your child in ANY seat other than the driver seat, as long as you have the child in the correct child restraint system. You can sit a new born in the front seat as long as you have them in the correct seat, facing backwards with the air bag deactivated. I wouldn’t personally advise sitting children in the front seat, but it’s not ILLEGAL in Texas to do so. Your daughter will need a booster seat until she is 8 years of age or 4’9″ tall, whichever one comes first. KEEP IN MIND THAT THE SAFEST SEAT POSITION IN A MOTOR VEHICLE IS THE REAR MIDDLE SEAT!

Priscilla from Nederland asks: I own two vehicles, but I loaned my extra vehicle to my cousin to help him get up on his feet and find a job. I want it back, and he won’t give it to me. Should I report it stolen? What do I have to do to reclaim my vehicle? Thanks in advance for all your help.

Answer: Unfortunately, sometimes people take our kindness for weakness. That seems like what you are dealing with now with your cousin. I’ve answered countless calls for service where the vehicle owner was faced with the exact same issue you are facing. At this point, you CANNOT call law enforcement and report your vehicle STOLEN. Why you may ask? You voluntarily gave them your keys and permission to drive your vehicle, even if he didn’t return your vehicle when he promised. So filing the charge of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle with a law enforcement agency will not fit this case. Priscilla, you will need to send a certified letter of demand to your cousin, demanding the return of your vehicle within seven days. After you complete this necessary step and you still haven’t been returned your vehicle, law enforcement will assist you in filing an unauthorized use of a motor vehicle charge against your cousin. If you haven’t done this step yet, your cousin is able to continue to drive your vehicle even though you want your vehicle back. By the way, Priscilla, you along with every citizen should feel free to contact your local law enforcement agency anytime you need assistance.

Join Me, Officer Rickey Antoine and the CREW: Stephen Buzzard Boots Mosley, Lelo mouth of Hwy 69/73 Washington and Tejas Lil Man Morning Star for Ask A Cop live,on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze every Tuesday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. as they discuss the “Ask A Cop” column. Call in your question live at 409-982-0247 or make a text comment at 409-748-6106. Email your questions to rickey.antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 and leave a voice mail or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public, you can always approach and “Ask A Cop!”