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Thread: Is it necessary to reply to a LEO's request during a traffic stop?

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    Is it necessary to reply to a LEO's request during a traffic stop?

    Last Friday I was pulled over by an Arlington County Police Officer for making an illegal left-hand turn (I didn't see a posted sign forbidding such a turn). I do have a VA resident CHP which the officer realized when he ran my plates. As the officer approached he said, "I see you have a CHP, are you armed?" I replied, "No". But it got me thinking. I know I'm not legally obligated to inform the officer of my firearm during a traffic stop, but am I obligated to answer if I'm asked?
    Thanks
    - Max
    P.S. Is it only the tags/registration of the vehicle that informs the LEO, or can it be gleaned from the drivers license as well?

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadMaxZ06 View Post
    Last Friday I was pulled over by an Arlington County Police Officer for making an illegal left-hand turn (I didn't see a posted sign forbidding such a turn). I do have a VA resident CHP which the officer realized when he ran my plates. As the officer approached he said, "I see you have a CHP, are you armed?" I replied, "No". But it got me thinking. I know I'm not legally obligated to inform the officer of my firearm during a traffic stop, but am I obligated to answer if I'm asked?
    Thanks
    - Max
    P.S. Is it only the tags/registration of the vehicle that informs the LEO, or can it be gleaned from the drivers license as well?
    You've discovered the little "Catch-22" in the Virginia Code.

    The CHP law (Paragraph H) requires you to display your CHP if you are carrying a concealed handgun, and if the LEO asks (code says "demands") you to display the CHP. There is no law that requires you to reveal that you are carrying a weapon, with the little caveat that you aren't allowed to lie to a LEO either.

    So... technically speaking, if you are carrying a concealed handgun, and the LEO asks you for your permit, you are obligated to display it for him. But there is no requirement to respond to the generic question, "are you carrying a concealed weapon?"

    Of course, as always, IANAL, so don't take this for legal advice. YMMV.

    TFred

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    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    TFred's answer is correct.

    It should be noted also, that the CHP info is only tied to your DL, not the vehicle registration.
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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    Your mileage may vary on this one... but when I am asked "Do you have any weapons in the car?" I smile and ask "Why? what did you need?"
    Carry On.

    Ed

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    Regular Member macfly's Avatar
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    Step out of the car please smart ass...

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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    You've discovered the little "Catch-22" in the Virginia Code.

    The CHP law (Paragraph H) requires you to display your CHP if you are carrying a concealed handgun, and if the LEO asks (code says "demands") you to display the CHP. There is no law that requires you to reveal that you are carrying a weapon, with the little caveat that you aren't allowed to lie to a LEO either.

    So... technically speaking, if you are carrying a concealed handgun, and the LEO asks you for your permit, you are obligated to display it for him. But there is no requirement to respond to the generic question, "are you carrying a concealed weapon?"

    Of course, as always, IANAL, so don't take this for legal advice. YMMV.

    TFred
    Were in that paragraph does it say that it is illegal to lie to a LEO? Please cite code. There is no VA law that i know of that makes it illegal.
    Last edited by All American Nightmare; 11-22-2010 at 11:52 PM.

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by macfly View Post
    Step out of the car please smart ass...
    Officer, I am comfortable (and safer) remaining seated in my car thank you. Am I free to go?
    Carry On.

    Ed

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xdm guy View Post
    Were in that paragraph does it say that it is illegal to lie to a LEO? Please cite code. There is no VA law that i know of that makes it illegal.
    Well, now there's a good question. I did not mean to imply that such was contained in the CHP law, however it is widely discussed as a matter of fact that you can get in serious hot water for lying to a LEO who is asking you questions in the course of his official duties.

    I would be interested in seeing the cite to that as well.

    TFred

    P.S. To be honest, I always considered that to be a seriously unethical double standard... but who am I?
    Last edited by TFred; 11-23-2010 at 12:18 AM.

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    Regular Member CHILINVLN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xdm guy View Post
    Were in that paragraph does it say that it is illegal to lie to a LEO? Please cite code. There is no VA law that i know of that makes it illegal.
    Lying to a LEO while "under arrest", which you are technically considered during a traffic stop - would be considering interfering with an investigation. By them asking you questions you choosing to lie, you would be "interfering". This is besides the moral and ethical decisions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    Well, now there's a good question. I did not mean to imply that such was contained in the CHP law, however it is widely discussed as a matter of fact that you can get in serious hot water for lying to a LEO who is asking you questions in the course of his official duties.

    I would be interested in seeing the cite to that as well.

    TFred

    P.S. To be honest, I always considered that to be a seriously unethical double standard... but who am I?
    18.2-460 Any person who knowingly and willfully makes any materially false statement or representation to a law-enforcement officer who is in the course of conducting an investigation of a crime by another is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. However carrying a concealed handgun is legal with a permission slip so there is no crime to investigate. What is the burden of proof needed to be found guilty of this charge? Prehaps USER could help on this one. LEOS can lie in the course of conducting an investigation. Were is the line drawn on what LEOS can lie about?

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHILINVLN View Post
    Lying to a LEO while "under arrest", which you are technically considered during a traffic stop - would be considering interfering with an investigation. By them asking you questions you choosing to lie, you would be "interfering". This is besides the moral and ethical decisions.
    You are being "detained" when pulled over during a traffic stop. Providing your operator's license, registration and CHP if CCing is about all that you are required to do. You can technically decline to answer without your attorney being present or simply remain mute. Probably won't work towards your having a pleasant evening, but certainly not illegal - in some cases this is THE very best thing to do.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

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    Quote Originally Posted by CHILINVLN View Post
    Lying to a LEO while "under arrest", which you are technically considered during a traffic stop - would be considering interfering with an investigation. By them asking you questions you choosing to lie, you would be "interfering". This is besides the moral and ethical decisions.
    Ok I can see your point but...... If no crime has taken place what would the charge be?

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    Activist Member swinokur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProShooter View Post
    TFred's answer is correct.

    It should be noted also, that the CHP info is only tied to your DL, not the vehicle registration.
    Jim, I have a non resident permit. Do you know if an out of state license is tied to my permit? I'd rather not find out the hard way!

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    Activist Member swinokur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xdm guy View Post
    Were in that paragraph does it say that it is illegal to lie to a LEO? Please cite code. There is no VA law that i know of that makes it illegal.
    IANAL but obstruction of justice? I didn't look at the VA statute

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    18.2-460 (d)

    Any person who knowingly and willfully makes any materially false statement or representation to a law-enforcement officer or an animal control officer employed pursuant to 3.2-6555 who is in the course of conducting an investigation of a crime by another is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

    Now, that says the "investigation of a crime committed by another". Arguably it is not illegal to lie about a hypothetical crime being investigated on your own person.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swinokur View Post
    IANAL but obstruction of justice? I didn't look at the VA statute
    I'm gonna pour water on the fact that you really haven't broken a law...and refusing to answer is not illegal as far as I know.

    One of the several stories I'm sitting until some things are finished, is just such a case.
    Unfortunately the fellow that reused the question was detained in handcuffs for a considerable amount of time.

    He did sue and lost. It's under appeal now but no matter what happens, he's suffered a considerable amount of emotional distress and spent a fair amount of money.

    He's posted his story here on OCDO.
    Last edited by peter nap; 11-23-2010 at 09:11 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by xdm guy View Post
    Were in that paragraph does it say that it is illegal to lie to a LEO? Please cite code. There is no VA law that i know of that makes it illegal.
    18.2-461 is as close as it comes - you can't lie to a law enforcement officer about the commission of any crime. That means that statements of fact which are false, stated for the purpose of informing the cop about crime or criminal activity. There is also a common law requirement that anyone about in the night time can be required to inform the cop as to his name and address, and it is a crime to lie about that. Of course, one must produce a CHP and specific gov't issued photo-id "upon demand" if one has a CHP. And if one is operating any kind of motorized conveyance, one must produce an operator's permit upon demand. Otherwise, no response is necessary, though I usually say, "no, thank you, officer.", or "Thank you, but I prefer not to.", followed by a generous smile and "Am I free to leave?".

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    Quote Originally Posted by swinokur View Post
    IANAL but obstruction of justice? I didn't look at the VA statute
    Negative. Obs./justice requires a positive act of interference with a law enforcement officer who is engaged in his duties as such. Not co-operating is not a positive act of interference. Making false statements for the purpose of misleading the cop in order to help someone commit a crime or get away is "aiding or abetting" and will get you the same punishment as the person they're trying to catch. ("Well, we couldn't get him, but You'll do.")

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    I'm gonna pour water on the fact that you really haven't broken a law...and refusing to answer is not illegal as far as I know.
    I invoke my right to remain silent, officer.

    • The clauses incorporated within the Fifth Amendment outline basic constitutional limits on police procedure. ............ prohibition against required self-incrimination................the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted the Fifth Amendment's provisions as now applying to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.


    • substantive due process . ........substantive due process has developed during the 20th century as protecting those right(s) sic so fundamental as to be "implicit in the concept of ordered liberty."

    http://topics.law.cornell.edu/wex/fifth_amendment
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    Quote Originally Posted by xdm guy View Post
    .... LEOS can lie in the course of conducting an investigation. Were is the line drawn on what LEOS can lie about?
    The U.S. Sup. Ct. has ruled that "the police are entitled to their arts, devices, and strategems" for the purpose of helping the state catch and punish those who have offended the dignity of the sovereign. This is generally taken to mean that they can lie, cheat, and steal, if they want to. But they are protecting the dignity of the sovereign, and mere citizens are not entitled to dignity, being essentially peasants and serfs. Anyone ever wonder why criminal procedure is an entirely separate section from the Code from civil procedure? A criminal case is an action at law brought in the name of the sovereign because of an offense against the dignity of the sovereign; the sovereign is the only "victim" in a criminal case, the complainant is merely a witness. But an action at law ought to be an action at law, there's really no good reason why the rules of evidence have to change just because the state is a party. But they do. In theory, what we're doing is protecting the rights of citizens who are compelled to stand trial; and the presumption of innocence, the right to avoid self-incrimination, and the higher burden of proof are supposed to be part of that. But I can issue subpoenas for witnesses and documents in a civil case, but not in a criminal case - I have to ask the court to do it for me. I can do discovery in a civil case, but not in a criminal case, unless the court allows it - and then whatever the Commonwealth produces will be made available to me about a half-hour before trial. And, as a practical matter, the higher burden of proof only means something if you've got a jury that cares and wants to think about what that means; the right to sit in your chair and be quiet and to demand that the state prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt means you're probably guilty, otherwise you'd get up and tell the court why you're not. And the presumption of innocence means diddly-squat when the people in charge of identifying the bad guys, i.e., the cops, have identified you as the bad guy and brought you in for trial, even if you don't have to wear handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit during your trial.

    People being what they are, the system works the way it works. So you can't lie but the cops can. Best to keep your big mouth shut, except to say, "I want my lawyer". ("Why do you think you need a lawyer, are you guilty of something or hiding something that I should know about?"; "You're asking me questions and won't let me go, so I must need a lawyer. Or am I free to leave?")

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    Regular Member wylde007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by user View Post
    18.2-461 is as close as it comes - you can't lie to a law enforcement officer about the commission of any crime.
    Dang. Off by one measly code section!
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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wylde007 View Post
    Dang. Off by one measly code section!
    The devil is in the details, even to the decimal point.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Regular Member wylde007's Avatar
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    Ask the guys who programmed the first Martian lander about that!
    The quiet war has begun, with silent weapons
    And the newest slavery is to keep the people poor, and stupid
    Novos ordo seclorum ~ Mustaine

    Never argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ProShooter View Post
    TFred's answer is correct.

    It should be noted also, that the CHP info is only tied to your DL, not the vehicle registration.
    Negative ghostrider.

    You can pull CHPs from plates. I was very shocked when one came off the plates of a busted Honda with a questionable occupant.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProShooter View Post
    TFred's answer is correct.

    It should be noted also, that the CHP info is only tied to your DL, not the vehicle registration.
    Are you sure about this??? I have a friend who is a Roanoke Co. LEO and he showed me how when he ran my licence plate it popped up that I have a CHP....

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