Can a police officer stop me because of this?
I am from Houston, Texas and every single time I am beeing stoped by the police. I am not a racing guy, no I do not drink, use drugs or do anything ilegal. This always happends to me when I go to Walmart when I get out of work. The time will be from 11:00pm to 1:00am. There is always a police officer on the parking lot when I go in and when I get out I see that the officer turns on his patrol car and whaits for me to turn on my car and leave. When I do he just starts to drive behind me and obviously stops me. When I ask why did he stoped me, he tells me this "I will tell you when you show me your drivers license, proof of insurance and registration" the officer goes to his patrol car and check me up and comes back and tells me one of these ALWAYS:
- "Your lisence plate lights are a little foggy"
I haved change my license plate lights more than 3 times in les than 4 months because of this and they keep stoping me for the same reason.
- "I stoped you cause of suspicious actions"
What? Suspicious actions? I do not get it. I do not do anything ilegal, in fact never ever have a ticket on my life.
Other things they haved ask me, "Were are you headed?" "Where are you coming from?" (They obviously know that from Walmart) "Do you live here in Houston?", some of hem asked me "Before Walmart, were were you coming from?" I respond "From work" and they ask "Were do you work at" I answer and they ask "What do you do at you work?". And this keeps going sometimes.
My questions is, Can they ask me all this? Can they keep stoping me for the same reason each time?, What are my rights?, Cause I feel that this has to be cause I am from a latinos family "Puerto Ricans to be exact. Racism maibe? Need help, FULL ANSWERS PLEASE!!
- Rusty PlasticLv 77 years agoFavorite Answer
Any questions they ask you about anything other than your driving or vehicle you don't have to answer. They can ask, but you aren't required to answer and there is no way they can legally compel you to. So, they can ask you where you are headed, where you were coming from, if you live in the city (since it should be on your license), and you are required to answer, but if they ask where you work (if you weren't coming from or going to work at the time) or what you do for work, for example, then you don't have to answer that. You can instead ask them what that has to do with why they stopped you. If they can't plausibly relate the question to your driving or vehicle, or refuse to try to relate it, then you don't legally have to answer.
They can refuse to give you give you a reason why they stopped you until they find out who you are or who you claim to be. This is just a precaution they sometimes use for their own safety. But if they were doing it for that reason then they would tend to be polite about it rather than belligerent. As to your license plate lights, there could be nothing at all wrong with them, but if there is then changing the lights alone might not fix the problem. The cover over the lights might be dulling the lights, or the lights might not be bright enough, or the angle they are shining on your plates might not be a good angle. So you should try changing any or all of those things, too, and check if it actually has made a difference.
Suspicious activity? Well, you seem to be aware of the patrol car when you are coming out of Walmart and feel that they are going to stop you again, so realistically you could be showing signs of being nervous and whatnot when entering your vehicle and while driving. That counts as suspicious activity.
But while they might be able to somehow justify stopping you, that doesn't mean they are stopping you for a just reason. It could be racist, but it could also be that you are on some watchlist for some reason. Maybe someone you know or associate with is involved in criminal activity, but you aren't aware of it. Or maybe you have the same name or fit the description of someone involved in criminal activity, so you are on their radar mistakenly. What you should do is record every time you do get stopped and get the badge number of every officer who stops you, so you can reference it later if need be.
- impaler19120Lv 77 years ago
Racism? I sure hope you don't think you are the only Latino in Houston. It is harder to find an Anglo to stop than it is a Latino, right?
If it is the same officer, there has to be some sort of problem. If it is different ones, the reasons they are giving you are all valid, and I am glad they are stopping you. It is a sign that they are out earning their salary instead of drinking coffee someplace.
If it is always the same officer, you may want to very politely ask him about it. VERY POLITELY. But, if it is different ones, relax. I know it is a hassle, but it should really make you feel safe. If bad guys were coming after you at the Walmart, they would head them off.
Just a word of friendly advice from a guy who has been a police officer for over 40 years....Don't listen to the morons who tell you to assert your "Rights" or "demand" anything. The police who are stopping you have a lot of discretion and authority, and you will only cause yourself trouble if you become confrontational.
- 7 years ago
Police can ask you anything under the sun, also known as a "fishing expedition". This does not mean you are duty bound to answer. The stops are manufactured and the officer knows it because of the demand for papers before giving a reason for the stop. A demand for papers is precluded by probable cause. An honest officer would never have a reservation about why he has stopped you, especially for an infraction or moving violation. <sigh> Profiling is afoot here.
Motorist: Officer, why did you stop me?
Officer: I will tell you when you show me your drivers license, proof of insurance and registration.
Motorist: Yes I will, what is the reason for the stop again?
Officer: Drivers license, proof of insurance and registration.
Motorist: Gladly, if we could please have your supervisor? What is your badge number, Officer (so-n-so)?
You could ask these questions while you are gathering your information, this shows your intent to comply.
This may take some courage on your part to peacefully demand his supervisory attend in order to professionally conclude his official business. I would also suggest being prepared to film the encounters as many times as possible for your protection.
There is not enough room here to deal with all aspects of your situation. Consider paying (1 hour) for a defense attorney's time to go over your situation, so you better understand these types of circumstances.
- PaulLv 77 years ago
Racists gonna racist. But the police can stop you for anything they think might be iffy about you, which is as it should be when used right. The downside is it means they can stop anyone they please so long as they can make up a half-plausible reason as an excuse to see their documentation.
I don't live in Texas, nor even the United States, but the most charitable I can be is that doesn't that state have something of an illegal immigration problem? Perhaps the police are working on the basis that anyone a bit dark skinned is a potential illegal. Actually that's pretty bad too.
I don't know what to suggest short of moving, but then they'd kinda win. Perhaps go shopping at a different time?
- How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
- 7 years ago
You can't really be certain why they are stopping you but it is possible that they are racial profiling. They are using excuses to stop you, they probably think you are doing drugs or something that why its usually always that late and always ask you if you are from around here. Unfortunately don't think there is much you can do, even if you think they have to right to stop you, you still must stop. Try getting the badge number of the next officer that does that and make a complaint to the police department. Tell them that this is been happening numerous times to you and that if it continues you will take legal action.
- Anonymous7 years ago
This sounds like harassment. You should file a complaint with the police station the cop works out of, that should take care of it.
- 7 years ago
ethinec background should not be a reason, but next time this happens let the know them you plan to file harrassment charges, unless you are dealing drugs, they cannot do a thing!!
- NexLv 67 years ago
yes they can and if thats always their answer then maybe you should look into what is your problem with the car and the way you act in public.
- Anonymous7 years ago
the next time he or she stops you tell them that you have a constitutional right to kniw why he stopped you and why this keeps happening for the same reason
- garrytooLv 77 years ago
mAYBE THEY JUST LIKE TO TALK TO YOU.