ASK A COP — What are Texas’ hitchhiking rules?

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Stephany from Port Arthur asks: Is it illegal to hitchhike on the roadway? Is hitchhiking illegal in Texas? Are we allowed to pick someone up who has a thumb out asking for a ride?

Answer: This is a question that truly differs from state to state. In the state of Texas, a pedestrian may NOT stand in the ROADWAY to solicit a ride (hitchhike). According to the state of Texas Transportation Code 541.11, the definition of roadway means the portion of a highway, other than the berm or shoulder, that is improved, designed or ordinarily used for vehicular travel. So with that, YES anyone can hitchhike in Texas as long as they are NOT in the roadway. Now given the current condition of some citizens in this country, this act is not encouraged by law enforcement agencies across this city, county, state or nation. Hitchhiking is a very risky chance you take with your safety and life. I am aware that unfortunate incidents can occur at any time to anyone, but hitchhiking or accepting rides from strangers even when it seems your back is against the wall may not be the wisest decision one can make.

Shawn from Nederland asks: My cousin said he was given a ticket recently for yelling out curse words from his vehicle. I wasn’t aware that cursing was illegal. Can a police officer write a ticket to someone for cursing at a police officer or in public?

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Answer: Here we go, in the state of Texas Penal Code Sec. 42.01. DISORDERLY CONDUCT. (a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly: (1) uses abusive, indecent, profane, or vulgar language in a public place, and the language by its very utterance tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace; using vulgar or obscene language in a public place is ILLEGAL! It is titled “Disorderly Conduct by language.” So any word we know to be a curse word is off limits verbally or by gesture in PUBLIC in the great state of Texas. So, yes, you can be issued a citation for cursing in PUBLIC. Using the excuse that I’m grown or I have the freedom of speech will NOT fly in Texas. Here is the tricky part, you also asked about cursing at a police officer. Police officers in the state of Texas are NOT supposed to be offended by language (go figure that one), so as long as no one else either heard the language towards a police officer or was NOT offended by the cursing language, no offense has occurred. By the way, this is NOT something you should test the water. I believe we are all adults with a broad enough vocabulary that we can use other words that can be just as effective to get our point across.

Mike from Port Arthur asks: My wife and I are going on our third round of debate of whether or not it’s illegal to operate a vehicle with a burned out light bulb? I know many readers will say of course it is, but let me finish with the question. What if I inspected my vehicle lights before beginning to my destination and the bulb went out without me knowing it went out. Can I still be given a ticket and I didn’t even know the bulb was out? Does it make a difference if I knew the bulb was out or not to ticket a driver?

Answer: I just love these husband-and-wife debates about the Texas Transportation Code. You ask what if I checked my car and all my bulbs were operating correctly. The Texas Transportation Code is much different than ANY other Code in Texas. With the Texas Transportation Code, culpable mental state is not applicable, meaning we don’t have to show your intent was to speed, or that you intentionally drove a vehicle with a bulb blown out….JUST THAT YOU OPERATED A VEHICLE IN VIOLATION! Law enforcement officers hear all the time from motorists, “Officer I didn’t mean to, I didn’t know, I wasn’t aware, I wasn’t trying to,” and none of these statements release you from the liability for a violation of the Texas Transportation Code. All the officer has to prove is you did the violation, not that you intended to commit the violation.

Join Me, Officer Rickey Antoine and the CREW: Stephen “Buzzard Boots” Mosley, Lelo “mouth of Hwy 69/73” Washington & Tejas “Lil Man” Moorin Star for Ask A Cop live on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze every Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m. as we discuss in detail the newly released “Ask A Cop” article. You can also tune in via ksapthebreeze.org. Ask your question live at 409-982-0247. Now you can make a comment or ask via TEXT 409-748-6106. Remember to email questions to rickey.antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 for voice mail question 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!”