“They have made this system convenient to allow your rights to be violated in a way that you would much rather have that happen than stand up for them.”

That’s how Eddie Craig, former Deputy Sheriff, and current show host at Rule of Law Radio, describes the Transportation Code of Texas. It could be applied to traffic statutes of any given state, or maybe he is referring to the entire way in which law enforcement goes about its business.

And it really is a business, driven by revenue, but possessing the power of the State and with a license to kill. Law enforcement is a revenue collector, producing obscenities like civil asset forfeiture where cash and property are seized from innocent people on made up suspicions.

Craig appeared on the Tom Woods show to discuss how cops are trained to pry into people’s business during traffic stops, violating our rights to gain further admissions of guilt that may lead to a search or arrest.

“An officer’s first job when he gets you pulled over for a traffic stop is to attempt to escalate that stop to either a DUI or a drug bust. He doesn’t care about the traffic, that’s just his premise for pulling you over. His real goal is to get inside that car and see what else he can find.

They are taught to find ways to keep the person in the car talking and answering questions that will allow them to continue their fishing expedition.”

Craig himself never ticketed anyone during his time as a deputy sheriff. He only pulled people over who were driving dangerously, and if there was no criminal act then he would send them off with a warning to avoid dangerous driving.

Most of his former colleagues, however, are not so rational. They are true soldiers of the State, seeking a way into everyone’s privacy to feed the belly of government.

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“Everything these officers do is meant to trick you into something that they can actually arrest you for,” said Craig of Texas law enforcement. In the Lone Star state, as soon as a cop puts his lights on to pull you over, you are in custodial arrest. You are treated as if in custody, and anything you say can be used against you.

However, you have the right to remain silent. “The more you say, the worse things will get,” said Craig.

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For instance, in Texas one has the right to carry a gun in the vehicle while traveling. Even though it’s “none of his business,” a cop may ask if you have any guns in the vehicle. According to Craig, if you say yes, the cop will get you out of the car, take the gun and scan it. You are now linked to that gun, even if it’s not registered to you.

Craig cited the case of a female attorney, Rebecca Musarra, who declined to answer questions when she was pulled over by a cop in New Jersey. The cop responded by pulling her out of the vehicle and reading Musarra her rights, which includes the right to remain silent. The pending lawsuit could be a wake-up call to roadside rights abuse by police.

Hi, do you know why I stopped you?” This simple question often asked by a cop when pulling someone over is the first attempt to lure a person into an admission of guilt. If you continue to answer questions like “Where are you coming from?”, it is a sure way to put yourself in danger.

“Oh, were you drinking at this party? Were there drugs at this party? Do you have anything in the car that I should know about…that you should tell me about?”

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These are some of the baits in the fishing expedition. The motto of “Don’t answer questions” is generally a good one in police encounters. And Craig reminds us, as always, to record all police encounters.

Craig encourages people to take civil disobedience a step further in his “Transportation Stop” action script. He described it during a mock stop between Tom Woods, the pretend driver, and Craig as the cop.

Make sure to pull over in a public space for your own safety, and acknowledge the pullover by waving or turning on emergency flashers. Do not incriminate yourself by answering questions; invoke your 5th Amendment right to remain silent if necessary.

This next part takes some more chutzpah and is controversial in that it could lead to irrational cops becoming agitated. Further clarification on the legal underpinnings is also necessary, as it relates to the precedence of state traffic code or federally guaranteed constitutional rights.

Craig says the right to remain silent includes the right not to produce anything that can be used against you in a court of law. He asserts that when a cop asks for your license and registration, instead of handing over the documents or refusing, you can say:

“Officer, can any of the information that you are demanding from me be used against me in a court of law or to potentially incriminate me in any way.”

The officer is obligated to tell you the answer, which is that he can indeed use the documents against you. Craig acknowledges that the law states you must hand over the documents, but he believes this is a violation of the 5th and 4th Amendments.

“But he didn’t tell you what your rights were, and now you can show this was not a voluntary surrender,” said Craig. “And that statement can later be suppressed at trial where he can’t use that info against you because it was illegally obtained.”

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Some cops might actually just leave you alone. It’s hard to predict, but Craig said that if a cop refuses to answer or gets belligerent, you can say, “Officer, I believe that information can be used against me, therefore I invoke my right to remain silent. Do you intend to retaliate or punish me for simply protecting my right to remain silent?”

Not many people would be brave enough to take the situation that far. Unfortunately, it is easier to have your rights violated but refuse to answer questions, be on your way and pay the State extortion fee or traffic ticket. That is the point of the first quote in this article.

Too many cops like to take out their anger on vulnerable citizens, or they don’t know the laws they are supposed to enforce — or both. As Craig points out, police departments are allowed to intentionally hire lower intelligence people. Why?

The State needs order followers, not those who would question orders.

Craig says there is very superficial training of cops in understanding statutes, leading to a poor understanding of the law. Cops usually don’t know the law any better than the general public.

“Statutory schemes use terminology that sounds and looks very familiar, but the meaning assigned to that terminology is not the same you understand from common usage,” said Craig.

Regardless of your willingness to take Eddie Craig’s “Transportation Stop” Action Script to its full extent, the question of state traffic statutes versus federal constitutional rights is an interesting one.

Asking the following question could indeed be a paradox for the rare rational cop on the traffic beat.

“As a peace officer you are required to protect me and my rights. One of those is the right to remain silent.”

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Justin Gardner is a peaceful free-thinker with a background in the biological sciences. He is interested in bringing rationality back into the national discourse, and independent journalism as a challenge to the status quo.
  • Thoughtful

    Give the cops your car registration, proof of insurance and driver’s license, when asked fishing questions ramble on about what a nice day it is and whatever, about your cat or dog, and mowing your lawn talk about his nice haircut, hat, and your cup of Starbucks to answer his questions, be polite, and reasonable. Never directly answer just talk about your sports team. Be considerate, let him try to get answers, but mention the pot holes in the streets, and your favorite food.

    Soon, he will either cuff you up, let you go, or start screaming ” why me” !

  • Thoughtful

    Cops fear for their lives, ??? Citizens stopped are kiiled for no reason at all and the cop goes free all the time.

    Cop has bad day and kills the first driver that does not kiss his assesss

  • Concerned Dad

    How about this for a change? The cop act lawfully and respectful. How many people can afford (money / time off) to go to court?

    Another thing, how about when the citizen fears for his life he shoots and kills the cop?

    You cops live in constant fear for your lives – and it’s a perfect excuse when you do kill someone. It’s time for the courts to look at how the final outcome came about. If the cop ends up dead and the cop started the issue by acting unlawfully – the death is on the cop. If the same happens and the citizen ends up dead – it’s on the cop.

    Once we get these changes, we will see the cops change their attitude, behavior and act lawfully. Then the cops will become what the citizens require of them.

    It’s time for you guys to see the role you plan in the situation of the public having little to no respect for you (personally or as a collective group).

  • Concerned Dad

    So you “punish” a citizen when they make you mad? “Just made themselves a target”?

    Do you actually believe that citizens think you inventory the contents for the sake of inventory? You inventory to get anything you can on us. That is what you do.

    What’s wrong with locking your doors? Is that a crime? When I got my CHL in TEXAS, the 2 detectives who gave the course said this:

    Don’t trust a cop. Don’t talk to a cop. Cops want to get as much on you as possible even if they know it’s not true. Some of the most corrupt actions they have ever seen was perpetrated by anther cop. Cops will lie to arrest you knowing you are innocent. Cops will to stay out of trouble (paraphrase).

    For the great citizens of Texas, we are very happy you retired and are off our streets. We feel safer.

  • Concerned Dad

    What about those 2 NYPD cops gunned downed in their car? They lost big time. Not to mention the cops in Baton Rouge and Dallas.