ASK A COP — Holiday shopping reminders for safety help

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Port Arthur Police Department holiday safety reminders: Please drive safe and if you plan to party with adult beverages, plan your safe transportation as well. While shopping, be aware of your surroundings. Don’t place packages on seats and don’t carry large amounts of cash. Don’t carry a purse by hand. If possible carry on your shoulder or across your body. Have keys in you hand exiting business. Park in well-lighted areas and don’t allow ANY strangers to approach you.

Mr. Right from Port Arthur asks: If you are pulled over by a police officer for a minor infraction and you live nearby, can I continue to my property and refuse entry to the law enforcement officer on my private property? If I don’t want you on my property and you continue to stay there, isn’t that trespassing? After a lot of back-and-forward with the officer, I was finally informed that if I didn’t sign the ticket I would be arrested out of my yard and taken to jail. I’m not a bad person. I was just trying to protect my rights, because I’m Mr. Right, or was I wrong?

Answer: The State of Texas requires all motorists, when an emergency vehicle with equipment activated is behind you, to pull over to the right and stop and soon as the motorist safely can. If you believed your driveway was the safest location, that’s for you to explain to the officer who have stopped you! You have no right to restrict a police officer who has probable cause from being on your property. The officer has a legal right being there because he was investigating a crime that was committed in his presence. So you were wrong, and the officer was not trespassing simply because you didn’t want them there. YES, the police officer could have arrested you from your yard if you didn’t sign the citation. Just because you are in your own yard that you pay taxes for, you can NOT order a law enforcement officer away that’s there on official duty. It’s always best to comply with the officer, and if you believe you were not treated fairly or your rights were violated, go file a complaint later.

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Kathy from Groves asks: If I am a licensed driver, do I have to have my license in my possession all the time while driving a motor vehicle? My friend was dropping her daughter off to school because she missed the school bus. She was stopped by you and you gave her a ticket because she didn’t have her license on her. If you can determine if I have a license, why would I get a ticket if you know I have a license?

Answer: In the state of Texas Transportation Code 521.025, it states a driver MUST present a valid driver’s license when demanded by a police officer. Even if the officer checks the status of the name you have given him and the officer has determined that you are a state license holder, you still have to be able to produce the license when demanded by a police officer. It’s so serious about having a license in your possession that a police officer can stop ANY vehicle he/she desires without a traffic violation being committed just to check if the driver has a valid license in their possession. If you left the license at home, you just committed an offense. If you receive a citation from ANY Port Arthur police officer for “failing to display driver’s license,” the total fine in the Municipal Court of Port Arthur is $271. ALWAYS carry your license. If you are involved in a crash and because of your injuries you are unable to communicate to first responders, how else are we going to know who is in the vehicle or what family members to contact.

Renee from Port Arthur asks: Is that 800 number on the back of my Texas driver’s license for auto aid if a motorist is having vehicle problems or is it for police help?

Answer: This toll-free number was established in 1989 to get help to motorists whose vehicles are disabled on state and federal roads in Texas. The number is answered by a someone in Austin. The number is 800-525-5555. Here are a few occasions of when a motorist may call the hotline: if you are stranded with car problems, hazardous road conditions, debris in the roadway, suspicious activities at a rest area, or obviously intoxicated or dangerous drivers. Do not use this number in case of an emergency. Call 911. If the operator deems the call is the responsibility of local police, they will switch you to the appropriate law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction.

Join Me, Officer Rickey Antoine and the crew of Stephen “Buzzard Boots” Mosley, Lelo “mouth of Hwy 69/73” I. Washington and Tejas “Lil Man” Morning Star for Ask A Cop live on KSAP 96.9 FM, The Breeze radio station every Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m. Tune in via the Internet at ksapthebreeze.org. Call in questions live at 409-982-0247. Email questions to rickey.antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 for voice mail or mail them to 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public, you can always approach and “Ask A Cop!”