With the 2014 Great Texas Warrant Roundup kicking-off in late February, San Antonio traffic ticket attorneys like the ones at The Coquat Law Firm are brushing up on our warrant and arrest law. While we don’t handle more serious criminal offenses here at the firm, existing clients and newcomers alike always end up needing help this time of year since police forces across the state are showing up at homes and places of work to execute warrants.
Proper Citizen Conduct
I recently had a client call me up in a panic and inform me she had just been pulled over for a traffic violation. She knew she had an outstanding warrant for a Class C misdemeanor and quickly wanted my advice on what to do.
Anytime you are stopped or pulled over by a police officer, follow these basic steps:
- Be polite – they may be rude to you, but politeness goes a long way.
- Don’t argue or curse – now is not the time to “win your case.”
- Put your wrists over the steering wheel – create a sense of safety for the officer.
- Turn on your dome light – light helps the officer know what’s inside your car.
- Move slowly – tell the officer before you stick your hands in pocket or glove box.
Of course it helps to know your rights, especially since the cops won’t always tell you what they are. For more on ticket rights, see the traffic ticket San Antonio blog.
Unfortunately, police misconduct seems to be on the rise. More and more often, news stories across the country carry horrific accounts of police brutality and false arrests. Some argue this trend is a result of a Supreme Court, who has turned the balance of power away from citizens and toward law enforcement. Others place blame squarely on Hollywood for movies like L.A. Confidential and Training Day. Television shows like The Shield starring Michael Chiklis justified constant police misconduct to “keep the streets safe.” The Shield ran from 2002-2008 and according to Wikipedia was, “known for its portrayal of corrupt police officers; it was originally advertised as Rampart in reference to the true life Rampart Division police scandal, on which the show’s Strike Team was loosely based.” Tragically, over its 7 season run, this show actually won multiple awards and the steadfast viewership of millions of Americans.
The point? To be sure, humans tend to mimic what we see and accept what we experience as ordinary. As citizens, we have fallen prey to tolerating police misconduct, where loss of civil liberties is now commonplace, by familiarity and exposure to it.
Luckily, San Antonio doesn’t seem to have a tremendous problem with police brutality. At least not so that it is widely known to the public. But that doesn’t mean police brutality doesn’t exist at all in San Antonio.
However, all over southern California, especially in places like Las Angeles and Orange County, claims of police brutality are not uncommon. I spoke with civil rights attorney, Jerry L. Steering, about police brutality and he told me it is rampant there.
False Arrest lawyer Jerry L. Steering had quite a bit to say about this topic as well and had written extensively in the area. Considered one of the top false arrest lawyers in Southern California, Jerry pointed me to some of the main reasons for false arrest on his web page (paraphrased):
- I’m In Charge Power Grab – When the cops show up, officers are trained to take charge. Anyone challenging, or even inquiring about the propriety of police orders, or their authority to do so, even seemingly unreasonable ones, is likely going to either suffer bodily abuse, or falsely arrested, or both.
- Bruised Ego – The “ego bruising”, results from a civilian not immediately, and without questions or protest, obeying a police order, instantly hitting the ground in a prone position, or not performing some task the officer has decided he wants you to do (lawful, reasonable or not) instantaneously, and without question or protest.
- Barney Fife Incompetence – Most police have only a basic understanding of fourth amendment search and seizure issues. As soon as this rudimentary knowledge runs out, they become either dangerous in their incompetence or self-conscious and abuse their power in order to make up for their lack of knowledge. It’s to that the officers are always malicious, frequently they’re just Barney Fife ignorant when it comes to when an arrest is allowed and when it’s not.
Here is a link to a video example of a false arrest in San Antonio, Texas.
Don’t Fight Alone
As the grace period for 2014 Great Texas Warrant Roundup comes to a close, should you find yourself in need of legal representation in San Antonio, Texas for an outstanding traffic ticket or even a ticket warrant, give us a call at 210-745-2825. Remember, be polite and know your rights!
Should you find yourself the victim of police brutality or a false arrest in southern California, contact attorney Jerry L. Steering at 949-474-1849 or find him on the web at http://steeringlaw.com/