President Donald Trump has said that all “Criminal Aliens” must be returned to their home countries. Meaning that for any violation or law breaking action committed by a nonresident, the risk of deportation is at an all-time high. The smallest infractions happen on a daily basis such as Jaywalking, Speeding, Passing a stop sign, or Public Intoxication. Although they’re not always done intentionally, we now have to become more cautious of our every move as we’re a closely watched target. When the usual consequence would be a slap on the wrist we’re now at risk of deportation.
Aiding in the process of permanent deportation, President Trump plans to cancel visas obtained by the so called “Criminal Aliens”. In which being separated from our families will be a permanent action. The option to fight for our stay is slim and expensive because lawyers are aware of the high risk and probable outcome of deportation.
What does that mean for Latino drivers?
We’re living through tough times, even the smallest infractions are now considered serious, but this shouldn’t intimidate you. We can overcome intimidation and avoid any risks by following the same processes and regulations as documented citizens without fear. As Latinos we should prove that we’re responsible drivers and law-abiding individuals.
Below are a few tips to follow in case you get pulled over.
When encountering a traffic stop the following should be done:
- Look for a convenient spot to pull over.
- Turn off your vehicle
- Roll down your driver’s side window, as well as any tinted windows.
- Keep your answers non-committal and brief.
- Follow any orders given by the officer.
Remember the officer will ask for your driver’s license, your car’s registration, and your proof of insurance, these items should be kept in an easy to find place in your vehicle, typically the glove compartment. In some cases an officer may ask you to step outside your car. If the officer charges you with a violation, he or she will present a “Notice to Appear” noting the charges and you’ll be asked to sign the citation. Signing the ticket is not an admission of guilt but is an agreement to appear in the listed court no later than the date noted on the ticket. If you refuse to sign the ticket the officer is required by law to take you into custody and present you before a judge for arraignment on the charges. So do not hesitate to sign regardless if you feel you may or may not be at fault.
The fine of the citation should be paid in a timely manner. Most Judges sentence traffic violators to take a Traffic Violators course (Traffic School), which will educate the driver on current rules and regulation as well as tips to avoid committing the same violations. The course can aid in keeping your driving record clean and keep your Insurance premium from being raised. As Latinos at risk, we have allowed intimidation and fear to take over our internal instincts. We need to remember we have rights, although they are being cut short, we can act on them and prove that we are people of integrity, and respect.