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(In the U.S.) while writing a ticket
can a cop take off after another violator?

 4:13 pm on Oct 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

(This happened to a relative.)

Let's say you get pulled over by a cop for a moving violation. While the cop is writing you a ticket, he sees someone else committing a moving violation and takes off after him. He took off with your license & registration, so you obviously can't do anything but wait for him to come back. According to the relative, it was close to an hour between being pulled over and finally given the ticket to sign.

I tried doing some research over the weekend, but couldn't find anything online (may not have been searching well). I realize that different areas will have different policies, but has this ever happened to anyone? I know I can always call the police department to try to find out what their policy is, but wanted to get an idea if I even had a leg to stand on as far as filing a complaint.



 11:37 pm on Oct 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

Incredible. However, he has the badge and the gun and that is pretty much all that counts. Unless they have the deep pockets I would forget justice but consider telling the story in detail to everyone possible. They would still be taking some chances however.


 11:51 pm on Oct 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

You can always try a USC Section 1983 Civil Rights action. Of course your relative would have to prove damages and getting an attorney to handle such a matter might prove challenging.


 5:15 am on Oct 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

What blackwell said..


 12:44 pm on Oct 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

One other thing to consider is where were they stopped at? If it was for example on the side of really busy highway I'd have left.

Assuming they are not going to try and fight this I'd bring it to the attention of the officers superiors.


 3:13 pm on Oct 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'd bring it to the attention of the officers superiors

Bad idea, just painting a giant target on your back.

Never trust the police to do the right thing, too many bad apples in every police department.

I come by this cynicism from my own experiences. If you think all the police are wonderful servants of the public ... good luck to ya. I on the otherhand am tainted by the bad apples that I ran into on a couple occasions. Keep in mind I dont even have a criminal record of any sort and I am this cynical.


 3:40 pm on Oct 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

Likewise, the police officers' attitudes are tainted by their contact with people who, despite (usually) clearly-marked speed and traffic restrictions intended to promote public safety, continue to "cheat" because they think they are "special" and thus divert the police from chasing real criminals.

Most of the police officers I know (quite a few) detest traffic duty because they have to put up with rude, self-centered people who cannot understand that there is a "greater good" in attempting to keep everyone safe on the roads.

Don't want to get a ticket or have to wait an hour by the side of the road for it? Simply obey the rules (and leave for that meeting a few minutes earlier next time if you can't be late).

Sorry, but free societies only work if their citizens accept some degree of personal responsibility.



 5:01 pm on Oct 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have a radar detector. A laser jammer is on my list of necessaries (both are legal where I live).

I leave in plenty of time, but sometimes the ponies just wanna run.


 6:52 pm on Oct 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

My friend was pulled over once on his bike. I stopped to wait for him at some distance. I was then waved over by the cop and he said "you get one too", even though he did not use his radar on me. He said "you should have kept going".


 4:19 pm on Oct 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

If it was for example on the side of really busy highway I'd have left.

You'd have left the scene of a "crime" when the police has your license and registration?! Well, I certainly wouldn't sit there forever either. (What if the cop engaged in a high-speed pursuit then got in an accident?) But I'd certainly wait a "reasonable" amount of time for him to come back.

The incident in question was making a lane change across a solid white line. In this particular spot, the lane was marked for trucks and the lane exited to a weigh station. (Similarly to like most off-ramps in California (not sure about other states), the dotted line between lanes changed to a solid lane x number of feet before the lane split off.) Because of the heavy traffic (Friday night rush hour), she was not able to safely change lanes before the solid line started. Most weigh stations that I have seen have signs prohibiting private vehicles. I am not absolutely sure about this particular on- need to do a drive-by and check the particulars.

(Oh, and the guy the cop took off after while he still had her license was pulled over for the same offense.)

So depending on the actual situation, she may decide to try to fight it. So was just wondering if pointing out the excessive wait to the judge would hold any positive or negative sway. Obviously, it often comes down to the specific judge. But if there was a specific law/policy prohibiting (or allowing) the cop to take off while in the middle of writing one ticket would also influence her decision to bring it up or not.


 8:30 pm on Oct 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have to disagree with Rugles (nothing personal, probably just different experiences). I know several police officers personally, and have had cursory experience with others in a casual context. I'm not sure what they're like when they're dealing with lawbreakers, but except for one officer, the police have been very courteous and polite every time I've met any of them. I've only been pulled over twice (as a passenger in both instances) and even then, the officers were very nice and respectful.

I have a lot of respect for the police department. Generally speaking, I think they do a tough and dangerous job with dignity and courtesy.

However, I will say it seems a bit overboard to give someone a ticket over crossing a solid white line...


 9:54 pm on Oct 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

You'd have left the scene of a "crime" when the police has your license and registration?!

I'm referring to if you're sitting on the side of busy highway, in lot of areas if you pull over there is only few feet between you and traffic going by 85 mph. I'm don't want to be in that position any longer than need be. I don't care what the law is, my life is valuable to me. If i was in that type of situation and had others in the car I wouldn't wait a second to leave.

Perhaps its more unique to my area because we have section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike here. This road was engineered after WW2 and modeled after the autobahn. There's stretches that go for miles and miles of completely flat straight road. It's quite unique for a mountainous area. The issue is that there is very few areas to pull off, even exits are spaced very far apart. It's not like your typical interstate highway, its like getting on a race track. You do not want to be stuck on the side of this road on the shoulder.


 10:26 pm on Oct 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

However, he has the badge and the gun and that is pretty much all that counts.

I agree. You have to pick your battles in life. An hour wait isn't worth getting on the bad side of the local police.

I did a paper in college on local drug abuse enforcement and the detective I interviewed freely admitted they arrested people they didn't like all of the time just to hassle them, even if they knew the charges wouldn't stick. He said that it still meant the "suspect" (who in the case was really the victim) still had to make bail, get a lawyer and miss a day of work, which might mean he would lose his job. And this was the stuff he didn't have a problem telling a college kid about for a paper for a public university class. Imagine what else he and his fellow detectives did to people who got on their bad side that he didn't feel comfortable sharing with me.

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