CRIMINAL ATTORNEY IN SACRAMENTO
What to do If Pulled Over While Carrying A Weapon
It’s our second amendment right to own a firearm in the United States, but it will still make police officers nervous if you are armed during an interaction with them.
If you have been pulled over and you have a concealed carry permit, or a weapon stored in the vehicle, it’s a good idea to do anything and everything you can to put the officer at ease. It’s a proven fact that interactions with police officers can prove dangerous, and everything we can do to make their jobs easier will keep you safer. It is fully up to the individual as to whether or not they should inform a police officer of a weapon in the vehicle, but we can guarantee you that if an officer finds a weapon without being informed, they are not going to be happy about it!
Duty to Inform
Across the United States, the requirement, or non-requirement, to inform police of the presence of a firearm in a vehicle is called the “Duty to Inform” and only certain states have such a law. In California, there is no state-wide legislation regarding the duty to inform, but certain counties and other municipal jurisdictions have enacted requirements to inform police officers of weapons. Because the law surrounding this is confusing, and willfully offering up the possession of a weapon could lead the officer to decide to inspect it, it is in your best interest to seek guidance from a criminal attorney in Sacramento in you have any questions or concerns.
For those who like to take the safest route, and inform the police officer of the presence of a weapon in the vehicle, you should follow these instructions to keep yourself as safe as possible throughout the interaction.
1. Know your state and local laws!
Before offering up information that could prove to be to your detriment, it is always a good idea to know your state and local laws.
2. Put your hands on the steering wheel and turn the cabin light on
Officers are slightly nervous, and will be overly cautious when approaching a vehicle they have stopped. They don’t know what is in that car, and they will expect the worse. You can alleviate their stress by turning on the light inside the car, and making sure your hands are visible and gripped tightly to the steering wheel.
3. Advise the Officer
Once steps 1 & 2 are complete, you can let the officer know that you have a firearm on your person, or that a firearm is in the vehicle (whichever the situation is).
Do not say “I have a gun” or “I’m armed” – these are terms that carry a negative connotation, and are often used by police officers to inform each other of danger.
If you have a concealed carry permit, try saying that you “have a permit to carry concealed, and am currently carrying on my person, how would you like to proceed?”. Asking the officer how he would like you to proceed offers them comfort and control over the situation, all things that will help for a smooth process.
4. Follow the Officer’s instructions and move SLOW!
At some point, you will need to give the officer some documents including your Driver’s License. This is the most dangerous time for anyone while they are interacting with police, regardless of whether they have a weapon or not! In the officer’s eyes, anything could come out of that pocket or glove box, including a gun. The best thing to do is follow the exact instructions the officer gave you, move slowly, and ensure the officer is comfortable with your actions.
Try to remember that you are not being treated like a criminal! The police have operating procedures that are designed for your and their safety, and following their instructions, however unfair or insulting you think they may be, is absolutely required and in your best interest.
Don’t Do Anything Without Consulting a Criminal Attorney in Sacramento!
The laws regarding duty to inform are set at the local and municipal level here in California, and ignorance is never accepted as a suitable defense for any charges in a court of law. If you have any questions about the weapons laws in your municipality, or anywhere else in the state, contact our Sacramento criminal defense attorney today.
Have You Received a Weapon’s Charge?
If you have received a weapons charge, it will follow you and may make owning weapons or purchasing weapons difficult. Do your best to avoid a negative outcome!
Our Sacramento criminal attorney will fight to build a convincing case and will do all they can to ensure the best possible outcome. Call us today for a free consultation!