By November 10, 2015 No Comments

An officer may arrest any person who commits any traffic offense in their presence, except speeding, without a warrant.

1. Officers intending to make an arrest under this portion of the law cannot issue the violator a citation and then make the arrest. The decision to arrest must be made prior to the issuance of a citation except that an officer may arrest a person for any traffic offense committed in the officer’s presence when the person refuses to give their written promise to appear in court.

2. All traffic violators must be requested to sign the citation. However, all officers must take extreme care to see that the violator fully understands that the signing of the citation is not an admission of guilt, but rather, is only a promise to appear as directed. If a violator refuses to sign the citation, a supervisor should be requested to make the scene to explain the reason for the signature to the violator.

B. Speeding

1. An arrest for speeding may be made only under the following circumstances:

a. The violator is operating a motor vehicle licensed out of state;

b. The violator committed any traffic offense in the officer’s presence and the violator refuses to give their written promise to appear in court; or,

c. The violator/driver, as evidenced by the driver’s license presented, is not a resident of a state that is a member of the Non-Resident Violator Compact of 1977.

2. An arrest for speeding must not be made if:

a. The violator is a Texas resident and driving a vehicle registered in Texas and signs the promise to appear.

b. The violator is driving a motor vehicle registered in a member state or is a resident of a member state of the Non-Resident Violator Compact of 1977.

C. An arrest must be made in instances of traffic offenses involving involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide, driving while intoxicated, or failure to stop and render aid when there is serious bodily injury or death.

D. In all of the foregoing instances, the person arrested must be taken immediately before a magistrate.

1. This must be accomplished by transporting the arrested person to the holding facility, where the arresting officer must relate the details of the reasons for the arrest (as opposed to the issuing of a citation, if applicable) to the jail supervisor. The supervisor must, on the basis of law and/or departmental procedure, accept or reject the arrest.

2. If a magistrate is on duty, the person must be taken from the jail to the magistrate immediately. If the arrest occurs during hours when no magistrate is available, then normal cash bonding procedures must prevail.

E. The course of action of the department in the enforcement of traffic violations is to dispose of these matters through the issuance of appropriate citations except in those cases above which require an arrest. The only reason for dispos- ing of these matters through arrest, rather than citation, is that the officer has a valid reason for believing that the vio- lator must not appear as directed.

1. The failure to produce identification by the violator is not sufficient cause by itself to justify an arrest/cash bond for offenses other than not having a driver’s license. Officers should be able to state why they reasonably believe the violator must not appear in court as directed.

2. The attitude of the violator in regard to the receipt of the citation in these instances is not a reasonable basis for an arrest.

Francisco Hernandez

Author Francisco Hernandez

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