Red Phone: Surrendering license before explanation from police


“I was recently pulled over by one of Gilroy’s finest for what I could only assume was a moving violation because the officer refused to tell me the reason for which I was asked to pull over until after I provided my license and registration and the citation already written. I asked repeatedly to be told what I had done only to be given the same response,  ‘license and registration first.’ While I waited to be written up for an unknown infraction, I wondered if I was legally obligated to surrender my documents without cause being made known to me.  Would you please find out for me?”


Red Phone: Dear Left In the Dark, It is standard for police to ask for the license and registration first, said Gilroy Police Sgt. Chad Gallacinao.  Motorists are required to have a valid license whenever driving and must present their license on demand of a peace offer as defined in the Vehicle Code (12951).

“The procedure ensures safety – for both the motorist and officer,” he said. “Once the officer obtains the required documents, the  officer, as a matter of professional courtesy, should notify the motorist for the reason for the contact. The motorist may ask questions regarding the possible issuance of the citation, but should not argue or contest the issuance of the citation during the contact.”

If a person has a complaint about the issuance of the citation, he or she can contest it in front of a judge. And questions about an officer’s demeanor or conduct can be directed to the GPD watch commander, Gallacinao said.

“The watch commander will be able to answer potential questions and review the incident for potential violations of department policy,” he said.


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