VERIFY: Do drivers have to show license and registration during traffic stops?

The KHOU 11 Verify team looked into a photo making the rounds on social media that claims drivers are not required to hand over a drivers license and registration to law enforcement officers if pulled over.

The KHOU 11 Verify team looked into Texas drivers' rights while on the road after viewers contacted us, asking about a photo making the rounds on social media.

The photo show a man not talking to an officer but instead holding up a sign with his ID behind a closed car window. The sign reads, "I remain silent. No searches. I want my lawyer." 

It goes on to say, "Any ticket can be left under the windshield. I am not required to sign anything and I am not required to hand over my license."

Many people are wondering if what the man did is legal.

KHOU 11 Legal Analyst, Gerald Treece says in Texas, drivers do have to hand over a driver's license and their vehicle registration to a law enforcement officer and must exit their vehicle if asked to do so.

He said officers do not have the right to search a vehicle without a warrant but if they see something that looks like a weapon on you, they can pat you down to make sure.

Treece also explained that drivers don't have to sign a ticket they are issued and if you do, it is not an admission of guilt. It is simply to acknowledge that you received the ticket and agree to appear in court.

However, if the driver chooses not to sign the ticket issued to them by the officer, they are basically refusing to appear in court so the officer does have the right to take the driver to jail.

Treece said while drivers can refuse to sign the ticket, it is in their best interest to just sign it.

The KHOU 11 Verify team also did some digging into the photo and found out where it originated.

It comes from an article published on January 1, 2015 about a Florida attorney trying to help drivers avoid interacting with law enforcement at DUI checkpoints.

One expert believes the article was published at the time as an effort to sell the attorney's book.

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© 2017 KHOU-TV


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