By: Beltz Law Firm
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Can A Police Officer Arrest You For A Traffic Offense In Texas?
Rockwall Traffic Ticket Lawyer
This article is intended to help those that are researching the necessary requirements to legally arrest a person for a traffic offense in Texas. This article is by no means exhaustive in it’s content, but is a good starting point to understand the legal requirements. It is important that our citizens understand the legal requirements of officers in Texas to better help themselves and ensure that an officer’s authority is not overstepped. If you would like to discuss your particular traffic ticket with our Rockwall traffic ticket lawyers, feel free to contact our office at 214-321-4105.
Sufficient Reasonable Suspicion to Stop A Vehicle In Texas And To Make An Arrest
Courts have found many reasons that justify an officer stopping and detaining a person. Some of these factors are sufficient to provide reasonable suspicion and others can be used to question the officer’s intent in stopping and detaining an individual.
Seat belt and other traffic violations are sufficient grounds for traffic stops and temporary detentions. Breaking a traffic law in the sight of an officer is once source of probable cause that will normally justify the stop and detention and will also rise to the level of probable cause. In Texas, Chapter 543 of the Transportation Code allows an officer to arrest a driver who violates the “rules of the road” contained in the Code. Specifically those sections are as follows:
- Sec. 543.001. ARREST WITHOUT WARRANT AUTHORIZED. Any peace officer may arrest without warrant a person found committing a violation of this subtitle.
Sec. 543.002. PERSON ARRESTED TO BE TAKEN BEFORE MAGISTRATE. (a) A person arrested for a violation of this subtitle punishable as a misdemeanor shall be immediately taken before a magistrate if:
(1) the person is arrested on a charge of failure to stop in the event of an accident causing damage to property; or
(2) the person demands an immediate appearance before a magistrate or refuses to make a written promise to appear in court as provided by this subchapter.
(b) The person must be taken before a magistrate who:
(1) has jurisdiction of the offense;
(2) is in the county in which the offense charged is alleged to have been committed; and
(3) is nearest or most accessible to the place of arrest.
There are exceptions to the arrest of a person for certain offenses. Specifically, if a person is cited for speeding and the person signs the promise to appear portion of the ticket, an officer cannot then arrest that person for that offense. The specific code section that requires the release of that person is as follows:
- Sec. 543.005. PROMISE TO APPEAR; RELEASE. To secure release, the person arrested must make a written promise to appear in court by signing the written notice prepared by the arresting officer. The signature may be obtained on a duplicate form or on an electronic device capable of creating a copy of the signed notice. The arresting officer shall retain the paper or electronic original of the notice and deliver the copy of the notice to the person arrested. The officer shall then promptly release the person from custody.
For some odd reason, the Texas Legislature also decided that a person cannot be arrested for open container violations as well. The law that states this is as follows:
Sec. 49.031. POSSESSION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE IN MOTOR VEHICLE. (a) In this section:
(1) “Open container” means a bottle, can, or other receptacle that contains any amount of alcoholic beverage and that is open, that has been opened, that has a broken seal, or the contents of which are partially removed.
(2) “Passenger area of a motor vehicle” means the area of a motor vehicle designed for the seating of the operator and passengers of the vehicle. The term does not include:
(A) a glove compartment or similar storage container that is locked;
(B) the trunk of a vehicle; or
(C) the area behind the last upright seat of the vehicle, if the vehicle does not have a trunk.
(3) “Public highway” means the entire width between and immediately adjacent to the boundary lines of any public road, street, highway, interstate, or other publicly maintained way if any part is open for public use for the purpose of motor vehicle travel. The term includes the right-of-way of a public highway.
(b) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly possesses an open container in a passenger area of a motor vehicle that is located on a public highway, regardless of whether the vehicle is being operated or is stopped or parked. Possession by a person of one or more open containers in a single criminal episode is a single offense.
(c) It is an exception to the application of Subsection (b) that at the time of the offense the defendant was a passenger in:
(1) the passenger area of a motor vehicle designed, maintained, or used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation, including a bus, taxicab, or limousine; or
(2) the living quarters of a motorized house coach or motorized house trailer, including a self-contained camper, a motor home, or a recreational vehicle.
(d) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.
(e) A peace officer charging a person with an offense under this section, instead of taking the person before a magistrate, shall issue to the person a written citation and notice to appear that contains the time and place the person must appear before a magistrate, the name and address of the person charged, and the offense charged. If the person makes a written promise to appear before the magistrate by signing in duplicate the citation and notice to appear issued by the officer, the officer shall release the person.
Hire A Lawyer For Traffic Tickets In Rockwall
The main point to get from this article is that the laws can be very complex and are contained in multiple sections of the Transportation Code And Penal Code. It is always wise to discuss your case with a Rockwall traffic ticket attorney to determine if a police officer’s actions were proper. If you would like to discuss your case with our traffic ticket attorneys in Rockwall, call us today at 214-321-4105.