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Old 03-21-2012, 04:08 PM    (permalink
Ness
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Default Question about being pulled over.

Hey. I have a question about instances when a police officer pulls you over. It's a specific scenario and I really haven't gotten a straight answer yet through my research. Six years ago me and a friend of mine went on a cross country trip. We were in South Dakota I think when we were pulled over. The officer pulled up to the window of my friend's car, who was driving and asked him to roll down the window.

The first thing that happened was the officer asking for his driver's license. My friend immediately asked why he was being pulled over. The officer ignored this question and asked again in a not-so-good tone. He was an older white cop in around his late sixties and me being a black guy with a Chinese friend in South Dakota...well I had a feeling why we were stopped.

My friend complied to giving his license over even though we were not given a reason why were stopped, and it wasn't until ten minutes later that he still didn't know what he was pulled over for and a whole mess of things happened that ended up with him being asked to go to the squad car for questioning. We were just driving through the state.

I was just curious if you ask why you are being pulled over, and the officer doesn't tell you and just demands your driver's license...are they allowed to do that? Are they allowed to just ask for your driver's license before even telling you why you are stopped? Can you refuse to give your license before you know why you are pulled over? What is the proper way to go about this? Does it differ from state to state? What if an officer demands you give it over without a reason and you don't give it over? You can't be arrested right? You didn't commit a crime. The only thing you refused to do is give your license over when you weren't told why you were being stopped.

I mean, on the street in most states if a cop asks you for your ID you aren't obligated to give it to the officer as it's your right. If you are pulled over aren't you being detained for a short period? Shouldn't you be able to know why you are being detained for that short period before you hand your ID over? Because you can be parked already somewhere legally an officer can come to you and ask the same questions, which would be wrong...unless there is probable cause. Still, if it's probable cause shouldn't you be entitled to know what that is before you hand your ID over?


Now I know this is a rare circumstance. From what I've heard you are usually told what the problem is before they ask for your license. Well...at least from the folks I've heard from. Maybe this is routine in certain areas and they just skip to asking for people's ID's. And I know it's been six years, but I was watching some videos on YouTube about cops that didn't know proper laws when talking to people and/or just violating their rights. So I remembered this and I was just curious.
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:24 PM    (permalink
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Cops in NY always ask for license and registration first in my experience. I would never refuse simply because it isn't worth it. After getting your documentation, they always tell you why you are being pulled over.
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:27 PM    (permalink
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Cops in NY always ask for license and registration first in my experience. I would never refuse simply because it isn't worth it. After getting your documentation, they always tell you why you are being pulled over.
Wow. Well that is interesting. That is really sad to hear.
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:27 PM    (permalink
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Can't get asked for your license and registration if you don't stop...

But I do think you're obligated to give the cop your license and registration if you're in the vehicle and its asked for. I also think the cop is legally obliged to tell you what you've been pulled over for.
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:31 PM    (permalink
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Wow. Well that is interesting. That is really sad to hear.
It really doesn't bother me at all to be honest.
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:31 PM    (permalink
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Can't get asked for your license and registration if you don't stop...

But I do think you're obligated to give the cop your license and registration if you're in the vehicle and its asked for. I also think the cop is legally obliged to tell you what you've been pulled over for.
Not if you are parked though right? Because I know being pulled over and parked are two different things...but take a look at this video here if you have a few minutes:

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Old 03-21-2012, 04:32 PM    (permalink
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I've never been pulled over myself but several ppl I know have been and been in the car with a few as well. From those experiences the cops have always asked whoever was driving for license and registration first and then proceed to say why we were pulled over.
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:32 PM    (permalink
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It really doesn't bother me at all to be honest.
In our situation it just felt like we were being profiled you know? I mean I just felt like asking the cop why we were being pulled over. What was his reasoning?
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:35 PM    (permalink
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In our situation it just felt like we were being profiled you know? I mean I just felt like asking the cop why we were being pulled over. What was his reasoning?
Yeah....I was going to say "But I'm white" after my previous post. It sucks, but cops that make traffic stops, especially in NYC, are putting themselves in danger all the time. I don't mind giving my license right away. Now, if they didn't tell me why I was pulled over soon after, I would be pretty angry.
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:40 PM    (permalink
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In our situation it just felt like we were being profiled you know? I mean I just felt like asking the cop why we were being pulled over. What was his reasoning?
Happens all the time. It sucks but its true. My coworker used to have a '95 Chevy Tahoe with hooker headers, K&N, drop in filter, and running 2 separate flowmaster exhausts, 2 12" subs and about 5 speakers everything powered by 2 amps and he shaves his head and is a bit on the darker side as a hispanic. He would get pulled over like every other block it seems, always given ******** reasons too.
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:49 PM    (permalink
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double... apologies.
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:53 PM    (permalink
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Why not just show the I.D.? Details are missing or your friend wouldn't have been detained at the patrol car. In my 18+ years of driving I've been pulled over 10 times or so. Each and every time I was immediately asked for my license and registration. Half of the time the officer would then ask if I knew why I was being pulled over and explained it to me. The other times, the officer simply took my credentials back with him to his patrol car.

If you're not hiding anything, why refuse such a simple request?

And that youtube video is interesting but it is published by infowars which is a highly controversial "conspiracy theory" organization.

As far as I know (in every state) the police have the right to know who is operating the motor vehicle, that they are legally permitted to do so, and that the vehicle they are operating is legally registered and licensed to be on the road.
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:55 PM    (permalink
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Ugh, there's no sense to denying your identification when it is being asked for, all that's gonna do is piss the cop off like in your case. If you're driving a vehicle and you're pulled over, you're required to provide proof of being legally licensed to drive a motorized vehicle. It's the law. After that they will explain why you were pulled over, and if you give them lip they can usually recite any dumb traffic law to give you a ticket.

The worst thing to do when pulled over is to try to be a smart ass to the responding officer. You're REQUIRED to have a license and proof of registration, why would you think otherwise?

Also, even if the car is parked, if there are keys in the ignition you are still liable for any traffic laws as a driver.
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:55 PM    (permalink
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one of my good friends (he's black) was coming back from somewhere off of our school's campus (off campus it gets pretty hickish) with 4 other black people in the car. a cop pulled them over for going 7 over (72 in a 65). Then she patted down the driver without giving them a reason and a second cop arrived and, according to my friend, said "we got a real diverse car here" and asked what they were doing and the like.

in the end the cops let them go without a ticket or anything, but basically would seem like cops can get away with pretty much anything they like.
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:55 PM    (permalink
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Why not just show the I.D.? Details are missing or your friend wouldn't have been detained at the patrol car. In my 18+ years of driving I've been pulled over 10 times or so. Each and every time I was immediately asked for my license and registration. Half of the time the officer would then ask if I knew why I was being pulled over and explained it to me. The other times, the officer simply took my credentials back with him to his patrol car.

If you're not hiding anything, why refuse such a simple request?
This was my reaction as well. To be fair though, being white probably does change your outlook.
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:58 PM    (permalink
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An excuse to post this....

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Old 03-21-2012, 05:03 PM    (permalink
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An excuse to post this....

That is ******* brilliant. Its refreshing to hear a white guy not being afraid to say anything bad about another race.
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Old 03-21-2012, 05:03 PM    (permalink
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I've been pulled over 3 times for speeding(6 over twice and approx. 10 over the other, he never told me how fast he actually clocked me at) and have been given warnings every time. Every time they've immediately asked for license and registration. After that they told me why they pulled me over every time, and then proceeded to go back to their car.
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Old 03-21-2012, 05:06 PM    (permalink
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This was my reaction as well. To be fair though, being white probably does change your outlook.
Absolutely agree. Although being defiant, stubborn, or passively aggressive in resisting a police officer's simple request for you to prove driving legality is a poor choice regardless of race.
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Old 03-21-2012, 05:12 PM    (permalink
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Absolutely agree. Although being defiant, stubborn, or passively aggressive in resisting a police officer's simple request for you to prove driving legality is a poor choice regardless of race.
Yeah, I feel like there is a good middle ground that is difficult to find, both for cops and the public.
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Old 03-21-2012, 05:15 PM    (permalink
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Cops are allowed to ask for your name, identification, and registration.

It may have been profiling or it could have been that the cops were looking for a stolen car and the car you were in fit the description. (make,model, color, etc.)
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Old 03-21-2012, 05:16 PM    (permalink
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Why not just show the I.D.? Details are missing or your friend wouldn't have been detained at the patrol car. In my 18+ years of driving I've been pulled over 10 times or so. Each and every time I was immediately asked for my license and registration. Half of the time the officer would then ask if I knew why I was being pulled over and explained it to me. The other times, the officer simply took my credentials back with him to his patrol car.

If you're not hiding anything, why refuse such a simple request?

And that youtube video is interesting but it is published by infowars which is a highly controversial "conspiracy theory" organization.

As far as I know (in every state) the police have the right to know who is operating the motor vehicle, that they are legally permitted to do so, and that the vehicle they are operating is legally registered and licensed to be on the road.
Because the principle of the matter. Unless there is reason that we are being stopped on the road and going about our business, well we shouldn't be stopped. And we shouldn't have to to identify ourselves for no reason at all. Especially when you are a black man getting pulled over by a white cop, it's not a great feeling.

And the whole "if you have nothing to hide" card is ridiculous. If that was allowed, then you might as well destroy the 4th amendment all together.

"Well if you have nothing to hide in your house, let me in".

And the video I displayed showed the incompetence of the officers plain and simple. You can hear the audio as clear as day.

As for my buddy, you really think a an older white cop in South Dakota is going to give a reason to bring my friend over the car? What I was told when my friend got back to the car was that the officer claimed that there was an investigation going on or something in that area, and they were asking people questions and this and that. At the end of the day he got a speeding ticket. Which is fine, but that doesn't justify being taking over to a squad car for questioning. I have a video of this incident. I'll try to find it.

Sorry it just sounds like you are kind of taking a side here. I know there are always two sides to every story though, and I respect that. So I'll try to find the video I took a few years back.
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Old 03-21-2012, 05:24 PM    (permalink
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Because the principle of the matter. Unless there is reason that we are being stopped on the road and going about our business, well we shouldn't be stopped. And we shouldn't have to to identify ourselves for no reason at all.
Police can give any number of reasons from the simple to the absurd. Once you are pulled over, they have the right to ask for license and registration. It is the driver's legal responsibility to give it to him.

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As for my buddy, you really think a an older white cop in South Dakota is going to give a reason to bring my friend over the car?
This is where your friend has a right to ask why. And by labeling the demographic as "older" and "white", you had profiled the police officer.

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What I was told when my friend got back to the car was that the officer claimed that there was an investigation going on or something in that area, and they were asking people questions and this and that.
There's your reason for being pulled over. True or not, he gave a reason.

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At the end of the day he got a speeding ticket. Which is fine, but that doesn't justify being taking over to a squad car for questioning. I have a video of this incident. I'll try to find it.
Did your friend fight the speeding ticket since he wasn't speeding? Did you use the video that you have as proof that the reason you were pulled over was due to an investigation and not due to speeding?
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Old 03-21-2012, 05:24 PM    (permalink
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I always figured if they pull you over just comply with whatever they ask. Trying to challenge the police in any way shape or form is usually a losing battle unless you have some connection or cash.
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Old 03-21-2012, 05:25 PM    (permalink
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Absolutely agree. Although being defiant, stubborn, or passively aggressive in resisting a police officer's simple request for you to prove driving legality is a poor choice regardless of race.
I am down for cooperating. I mean I won't just not do something because I have the right/power as a citizen to do it. But if I feel like something is wrong, I'll exercise my rights at a citizen to help myself. I still wouldn't go about it as a jerk. Just calm and orderly.
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