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pleaseassist 10-21-05 08:04 AM

Police stop
Prior to a court appearance I hope to gain insight. I've been ticketed for not stopping immediately when asked but rather proceeding (while signaling and stating the intent) to a parking lot just ahead on the same two lane, 55mph road. The officer became extremely antagonistic and now I have a ticket for "disregarding an officer". Its been popularized to continue at night if a person isn't sure of the car with the lights on, what about safety on road with no shoulder? If anyone has any suggestions-especially where to find information to explain the situation, I would be so thankful. Local bike shop owner mentioned how the area police seem to attack cyclists and that I need to be vocal, I don't want to nag though. Has anyone else encountered a traffic stop on bike?

Dchiefransom 10-21-05 08:18 AM

There was no spot where you could stop the bike and walk it 4-5 feet or more off the road? The only other option I see is to explain it fully to the judge and hope they understand. Unless the officer lies about your signalling you intentions, then maybe the judge will understand. If you say that you signalled, and show the judge, if the officer doesn't understand the signals that might help you.
You did not explain fully why you didn't think this car was a police officer. Did he/she have red and blue flashing lights going? In a vehicle, you can always crack the window and wait to see if it's an officer. Not possible on a bike.
The only case reference I have for you is in Livonia, Mi, but that was over 32 years ago, and might be hard to find. A car posing as police flashed it's lights and a woman was assaulted.

nova 10-21-05 08:50 AM

I dont know where you live but here you dont have to stop right when they signal you to. You have to stop when its safe for you to do so. In other words when you can get far enough off the road to be safe.

Tell the judge that you did not feel safe to stop imidiatly do to the roads speed limit shoulders lack of shoulders what ever. And that you signaled your intent to pull in to the parking lot.

No one can expect you to stop some place where it puts your life is in danger to do so.

eubi 10-21-05 08:56 AM

Why did the police pull you over in the first place? Exactly what vehicle code did you violate? It should be listed on the ticket.

Are you male or female? Is the officer male or female?

Local police "attack" cyclists? Exactly what did the LBS owner mean by this? Physically, or do they just pull over cyclists a lot? Is there proof (then get it) or is it just heresay?

If you felt the location was unsafe to pull over, you were wise to proceed to a safe place...ticket or not.

Do you have photos of where the incident took place? If not, take some and bring them to court.

Review the laws of your state as they refer to bicycles. Bring them to court.

I'm guessing you live in CA, based on your other post. The vehicle code website here is pretty good.

Start with paragraphs 21200 - 21212 for a general background on cycling laws. Then see exactly what code you broke (written on the ticket).

If you aren't in CA, see if your state has a similar website.

I would go into court well-prepared. Dress in business attire.

Good luck! Let us know how it turns out.

supcom 10-21-05 12:12 PM

Get a copy of any police videotape that corroborates you assertion that you signaled your intentions to the officer, did not ride evasively, etc. Use it in court as part of your defense. If this is more than a minor traffic citation, get a lawyer that does traffic cases to represent you. You may want a lawyer in any case.

boozergut 10-21-05 12:29 PM


Originally Posted by supcom
Get a copy of any police videotape that corroborates you assertion that you signaled your intentions to the officer, did not ride evasively, etc. Use it in court as part of your defense. If this is more than a minor traffic citation, get a lawyer that does traffic cases to represent you. You may want a lawyer in any case.

Also, carefully explain the conditions you were experiencing at the time. I had a similar situation in pea soup fog along a highway. I got the "Failure To comply with an officer" ticket. Once I explained the situation to the judge I was let off without a fine. Let us know how it turns out.

emilymildew 10-21-05 02:13 PM

I was told when I first got my driver's license as a teenager that if I was pulled over by a cop on an empty highway late at night I was perfectly within my rights to get off at an exit and proceed to a well-lit gas station or whatever.

Tickets like these why people who fake being cops and pull people over and assault/rob them get away with it so often.

You should NEVER feel afraid for your safety when you're being pulled over.

Cravin 10-21-05 06:52 PM

At least call the local news for film at 11:00 showing you in a low speed chase.

pleaseassist 10-22-05 09:11 AM

I just walked home from jail, the charge has been "upped" to a felony of resisting/assualting/obstructing an officer. Coincidentally they came to my door after businss hours on a Friday-more than a week after the incident occured. Not being very pleased with this I am more desperate for advice. Fortunately I know a few good people with degrees in law- but I can't imagine going to jail for pedaling as far as I did (less than several hundred feet) to pull into a parking lot.

Thanks for the bit of help gained so far.


Dchiefransom 10-22-05 09:17 AM

It's time to get a lawyer, and a good one. Conviction on that charge means prison time.

watchman 10-22-05 09:00 PM

You might want to elaborate on why you were stopped in the first place.... I would bet you didn't have those additional charges just because you didn't pull over immediately on your bicycle.

Little Darwin 10-23-05 07:05 AM


Originally Posted by watchman
You might want to elaborate on why you were stopped in the first place.... I would bet you didn't have those additional charges just because you didn't pull over immediately on your bicycle.

I add my voice to this, I am curious...

What pieces are we not being told? I can not imagine any jurisdiction where a police officer could charge someone with a felony (and make it stick) without significant evidence.

I am all for protecting the citizens from a corrupt policeman if such is the case, but all that I see here makes it look like a policeman and a citizen disagreeing, and the court seeing more evidence to support the officer.

Now, while I agree that police often get the benefit of the doubt from courts, I think that the fact that the DA (I assume the DA's office is involved) has decided that the case is worth pursuing says a lot... They have a lot of things to worry about and don't tend to file charges they don't think they can make stick.

Even though I am curious, I don't blame the OP for not posting details, as I think a lawyer is likely to suggest he keep quiet... but why post here asking for advice if not willing to share details?

Look up Attorney or Lawyer in the phone book (I don't know wich one they list under, but if you pick the wrong one it probably references the other).... You will find far more answers than a cycling forum. Based on what little has been shared, this does not seem to require anyone with cycling specific knowledge.

pleaseassist 10-23-05 08:00 AM

The purpose of my shared situation is to find precedence. This can help in any case, especially one in which the state police feel comfortable taking people to jail for as little as this. Every detail has been written, I only hoped for ideas and information that could help. Even perspective. I thank those who have posted. There seems to be very little in my view that could warrant jail time. Especially if one compares the charge (newest charge) to that which the officer is currently disputing in a high court case. Try that. Ruthig is the trooper involved with me. Precedence

Little Darwin 10-23-05 08:50 AM

A little humor to lighten the topic:

So, you are hoping you can construct a defense by claiming that you are being harrassed due to financial contributions to the opponent of who Ruthig supported? :rolleyes:

Back to my opinions:

With the wide range of law suits, and no way to prevent someone from suing simply to make someone's life miserable, I personally would put little hope on the ability to effectively use law suits as precedence. Now, if there were criminal charges against the officer for harrassment, I would be more apt to be able to believe a defense that includes this information. I place little faith in people that file civil suits instead of going for criminal charges, although perhaps the bar owner attempted that, and it was just omitted from this report...

If there truly is nothing more to your case, then along with seeing a lawyer, you should be reporting this to the agencies responsible for oversight... City to county to state... and don't stop until there is an investigation.

You are probably heading deeper down a rat hole if your only defense is that the officer has been sued for harrassing a bar owner... more likely to be a good tie in if the suit was about harrassing a motorist or cyclist...

A lawyer would surely offer better advice than me... and unless your plan is to sincerely apologize and throw yourself at the feet of the judge asking for mercy, you need one. I strongly suspect that nothing else will work.

While you may stumble on some information here, you will likely need a lawyer to effectively pull it off. A good lawyer could answer your questions in an initial consultation better than anyone here can give in a month.

Good luck!

Dchiefransom 10-23-05 01:36 PM

Get a lawyer, and get a good one.
It sounds to me like some people need to be taken off the force and made to look for other employment. I have listened to a police officer in my town describing how they would harass someone, and he even used the word harass, if they didn't admit to doing something. I had driven a person with a complaint down to the station to file a report. After the report was given, then the officer went through a list of things that I'm sure he would be afraid to have played on videotape in a courtroom.
If the officers listed in the civil suit were just doing normally ordered inspections, then they shouldn't be saying any of the things that the witnesses in the civil suit are going to testify about.

Roody 10-23-05 02:18 PM

I imagine there were other circumstances not mentioned in your posts? You seem to be evading the question, asked more than once, of what you were originally pulled over for. I also wonder about your demeanor with the arresting officer, and your state of sobriety.

I am not a cop-lover. Not by any means. But the Michigan State Police do have a general reputation for being professional and respectful. Of course there are exceptions. In the 1960s, they compiled extensive dossiers on people whose only "crime" was their political beliefs (civil rights, anti-war).

pleaseassist 10-23-05 09:21 PM

I imagine there were other circumstances not mentioned in your posts? You seem to be evading the question, asked more than once, of what you were originally pulled over for. I also wonder about your demeanor with the arresting officer, and your state of sobriety.

The cop thought I had been urinating by a stop sign at the rural intersection which my friend and I had just taken a break at. (I wasn't.) I was not very pleasant with the cop. I did not use profanity or threaten him though. And, by the way, the law doesn't give cops the ability to ticket for attitude-it doesn't work that way. And I was sober. Odd that you would wonder about that. This state trooper does not have a good reputation., thanks for mentioning the study "they" did.

some_guy282 10-23-05 09:47 PM

Definitly time to get a good lawyer. This is definitly a trumped up charge, but you shouldn't take the risk of going to jail. Perhaps you should consider sueing over this as well, depending on what the lawyer tells you.

The Seldom Kill 10-24-05 02:57 AM

The precedent that you are looking for would be drawn out of other similar cases in the state where charges have been laid for failing to stop a vehicle. In theory you should be able to test this against any other vehicle but a judge would be likely to consider it an excess against anything other than a car.

From the general success level of prosecutions you should be able to determine a presedential line over which you should not have crossed under similar road conditions. These include; general speed, number of lanes, visibility, time of day, volume of traffic, availability of exit points such as garages and lay-bys and so on, vulnerability of vehicle operator (you) and local knowledge of vehicle operator.

Furthermore you want to present local laws governing stopping distances, signalling, and very importantly the state legislation on the vehicular status of bicycles.

On top of that you might want to invest some research time in seeing if this particular officer has raised a similar charge against any other road user. It would be helpful to establish a pattern of behaviour. You don't want to apply negative spin on this but allow the court to draw it's own conculsions.

Finally put this in the hands of a lawyer, preferably one that cycles. A majority of courts will give far more respect and credence to a case argued by a mediocre lawyer than an excellent defendant.

John E 10-24-05 02:06 PM

I particularly like "T S K's" post, immediately above. In addition, cite cases in which cops and/or citizens have been killed during routine traffic stops on fast roads. The stretch of I-5 past my house is named after Office Stephen Linen, killed under precisely such conditions.

From the San Diego Union-Tribune, published 2004.06.27:

"Coincidentally, the CHP [California Highway Patrol] dedicated portions of I-5 on Saturday to two officers killed on the freeway.

Officer Sean Nava died Oct. 28, 2000, when he was struck by an underage drunken driver while investigating a traffic collision in Carlsbad.

Stephen Linen Jr. was killed under similar circumstances on Aug. 12, 2001 in Encinitas.

I-5 between La Costa Avenue and Leucadia Boulevard will be named after Linen, and the section between Tamarack Avenue and state Route 78 after Nava."

forensicchemist 10-24-05 02:29 PM

While its been said here several times already, I too will say, "get a lawyer who does traffic law". Having testified in thousands of criminal proceedings, the folks who represent themselves are at a severe disadvantage. You mentioned this is now a felony case.....all the more reason to hire a professional. This is NOT the time to save a few bucks, and definately not a "do-it-yourself" project. good luck.


Bluechip 10-26-05 06:17 AM

What was the sequence of events? He came upon you and another cyclist while you are at a stop sign taking a break. He thought you were urinating. You took off and then pulled over in a parking lot a couple of hundred feet away. Is that basically correct? Why not just stay at the stop sign? You must have felt comfortable stopping there. I am not accusing you of anything but just would like to hear the whole story. Many details are being left out.

Bekologist 10-26-05 07:26 AM

cops don't ticket you for attitude, they sucker punch you in the kidneys before putting you in the slammer for three days(not including weekends or holidays) before being released without any charges or even being mirandized.Or so I've heard. Three day holds, Used by law enforcment to quell demonstrators all across America.

How the felt did you get felony charges, dude? Whoah, you seriously need legal representation....

I've got tickets on my bike before. Good luck, hopefully the judge sees it your way.

pleaseassist 10-26-05 09:44 PM

Sorry this is so long but it is complete.
I was not stopped. We had taken off all on our own and had been pedaling for probably half a minute before the cop came around. Legal representation has been sought, wow lawyers suck. Thanks for the posts.

Pertinent Events of October 13

Andrew Strane

Thursday, October 13 around 3p.m. Brian Chapman and I headed out for a bike ride. It was neither a warm nor sunny day and so full sleeves and pants were utilized. Leaving my house we took S.Division to Atkins until a right turn onto Little Cedar and then a left to Greenwood. Staying on Greenwood until it turns into Maxwell we arrived at the intersection of E.Mitchell and Maxwell roads. As Brain was behind me I waited in the yard of that southeast corner lot near the stop sign. When he arrived we spoke of continuing our ride toward Wolverine. As we rehydrated and adjusted gear/clothing the amount of traffic present was moderat due to the time of day. (Schools emptying and businesses closing.) While riding we switch lead position as we feel appropriate. Brian had called for me to lead off as I was to his east. Having been pedalling for a while a car came upon my left flank and abruplty slowed to our speed. This was a man I've come to know as Trooper Ruthig.

Mentioning something from the open window of his cruiser and then shouting for me to pull off the road. Eyeing the extreme lack of shoulder and knowing he'll need to block traffic when we are stopped I state that I am headed for the parking lot of the Epsilon General Store. As I do so I motion with my left arm in the manner of a turn signal. He then proceeds to accelerate very quickly and brake aggressively just near my left leg. I hear the siren and it startles me at such a volume. Checking traffic I move into the parking lot. Assuming the police car will allow safe passage for us both I am surprised to see that Brian was not across the street (the Epsilon G.S. is on the north side of the road in a clearing with a large circle drive) when the officer pulled in. He did bike to us just after a large truck and some cars passed-from both directions. When we are approached by the trooper he questions why I didn't stop. I stated my reason as the parking lot being a safety choice. He instructs me to go off the roadway when next I have to go to the bathroom. Brian hears this and stats that neither of us were peeing since our ride began. The officer then asks if we think he is stupid. This is startling to us both.

Throughout the ensuing conversation Trooper Ruthig asked us if we thought he was stupid again. He also asked me the question-"You don't like me very much, do you?" after getting out of the car. Another return from the car brought out a statement beginning with, "I don't want to be a prick here but....". I was scared and felt threatened. A good time to have a friend. Brian asked if I wished to call a lawyer, we were waiting so long. Not imagining I would end up charged with a felony for making a decision based on the knowledge I have absorbed throughout my encounters I declined. This knowledge has to do with allowing as much room as possible and stopping in the safest/closest place possible. I feel I did that.

Now, I wish I stayed home. Having spent the night in jail I cannot imagine living in a country where the judicial system is at will to entertain such pursuits as please them without facts, but rather feelings as it seems the police (at the state level) seem to be able. The police scare me to the point of shaking. I do not have the temperament of one who cowers. If I did this bike ride could have ended without two threats of jail.

While attempting to prove my identity the officer asked if I had any idenification on me. I did not and this was a sore point. He advised me that he had the ability to take me to jail on the basis that I was operating a vehicle on the roadway. When it was announced that by giving him my name and address I would be "providing identification" I did so. Again Trooper Ruthig came back mentioning that I was to go to jail since the information provided resulted in nothing helpful. Checking the spelling of my name I wondered what more I could do. With bike shorts and wind pants on I didn't have pockets. This is a mistake I usually prevent by having an id in my bike bag. Unfortunately that wasn't on the bike this day. Finally, with my old driver license number he was able to corroborate my information. While waiting Brian and I noticed that the lights of the car weren't on (flashing,rotating) and the door stayed open where it was parked. Trooper Nadeau arrived and then a ticket was issued. It was a misdemeanor for "disregarding [a] police officer". This was an end. Not a good termination but at least we could be on our way and free from immediate threats of incarceration.

Brian was furious as he had been on the phone consulting with trusted family members. He felt we should go directly to the state police post and file a complaint. His words were "the officer seemed to antagonize you!" and his feelings were of disbelief. Brian mentioned that he could only think of harassment. When at the post a complaint was filed only to receive a call at 9:30p.m. October 16 mentioning how the superior officer was aware of the situation and that Trooper Ruthig was sorry if I felt that I was treated other than professionally. The call was from Sergeant Rule who seemed dissausive about filing a complaint. Apparently it hadn't been filed by then and he was calling to portray the officers sentiment and to check on my desire to file or not. I thought it was clear but I was new to this. Recommendations by friends and family were based on support and took them readily. Following through with the complaint, Sergeant Rule called on the afternoon of the 20th to say "..the situation does not rise to the level to substantiate a complaint...". Having been advised to continue with the process and gain knowledge of determining factors of a substatial complaint I contacted the post once more. This was on Friday around 10:30a.m. The trooper who answered (I believe his name is Goodwyn) asked that I reference which case this might be from, as word gets around the station. I said merely that I was on a bicycle. He knew instantly and said that he was at the scene and would've taken me to jail and writen me up for "fleeing and eluding". I thought this far fetched as I attempted neither and provided ample indication of my actions. No answers provided and left without the ability to speak with the commanding officer I relented and parted ways only more curious why he was so upset with me when we hadn't met.

On the night of Friday, October 21 I answered a knock at the door. It was Troopers Janicki and Nadeau. Ron Nadeau has a way about him which shows compassion and instills in me a sense of someone who cares. Bad news is easier taken from a person such as this. He made it clear that bad news meant that I would be spending the night in a place uncomfortable to me. I was appalled to learn that my original misdemeanor had been changed to a felony! Surreal is a word that came to mind. I didn't know a charge could change due to fluctuantions in mood and sentiment. I have no idea where to go from here but if this is a city/count/state/country/government,etcetera that will allow such dishonesty to continue I don't want any part of it. Hopefully this letter was given to you because you are trusted.

Having only touched on the fact that I didn't feel comfortable during the entire scene I must say that I understand more. I realize now that the officer wants to control any time lapse or physical distance from the occurence of a suspected crime. Not meaning to do less than cooperate I fell back to my base instinct-safety,protection and a desire to be understood as well as to understand. This is not to make claims of a singular nature as I know that my attitude is pugnacious when I feel cornered. I've never been physical though I cannot seem to muster a placating stance or persona. Trying as I grow I suppose insecurities impede any quick release of frustrations or fear. Pespective comes from experience and distance. With regret I remember my words to Trooper Ruthig. I find no joy affecting another persons' life in a negative way. Nor do I feel any better when mine is so affected.

biodiesel 10-26-05 11:02 PM

Dude... :(
This sucks. Remember though that it's people, not systems, and though these cops may be representing a group they are individuals... Don't get too disheartened...

That said, first order of buisness. Call every news station around. You've already taken steps 1,2,and 3. Diffuse, discuss at a later date and document. Having met with retributions after your complaint (i read this as your arrested after you filed a complaint right???) you are out of options locally.
If these are city cops call the county, county call the state, state (or if you hit the blue wall) call the (i'm not kidding) FBI. You need I.A.D. on this case and if these cops think that you're a problem they will not likely back down. (Remember a 'good' trait in a police officer is persistance.)
If I.A.D. will not give you a case number and a officer taking the case (which they should do even if they don't believe you) then call the news, the paper. It's not a chicken-y way to go about things, it's one of the natural checks in out system and totally appropriate when outer venues have failed.

Good luck, keep your wits about you.

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