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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's a common theme I see here all the time.

"They said, 'Do you have any weapons.?'" he said. "I think out of respect for officers, if an officer says, 'Hey, do you have any weapons in your truck or your vehicle?' you should tell them. It's an officer safety thing."

Despite how much you assure yourself of your legal rights, and all this concern for this nice officer's safety, think long and hard before you answer that question.

Pepper spray lands Texas man in jail on felony

by Jason Whitely / WFAA-TV

Posted on November 20, 2009 at 8:24 AM

WYLIE, Texas - A canister of pepper spray is now at the center of a Wylie dispute after a North Texas man found out what most people don't know, anyone who carries it can face a felony.

Jason Simpkins admitted he looked suspicious when a Wylie officer stopped him while he was driving his truck with a jet ski inside his lawn mowing trailer.

It happened early on the morning of August 22.

"I didn't have a problem with it at first," Simpkins said. "I gave him my drivers license. I thought, 'Okay, you know, it does look suspicious.'"

Police were curious if it was stolen, but Simpkins provided proof he owned the jet ski.

The officer then noted that Simpkins' speaker for his truck alarm positioned in his grill looked similar to a siren, though the officer never tested it to see what sound it emitted. News 8 did and heard a loud screeching sound, but no type of emergency tone.

Simpkins had what police thought were red lights in his grill, as well. But, again, no officer activated them. The "lights" don't illuminate, but are rather part of a laser detection system.

Officers also saw a police scanner and a law enforcement type light switch often used to activate emergency strobes. The scanner isn't illegal to have and no one tried switching on the lights, which would have illuminated nothing more than fog lights.

After an extensive check, police discovered Simpkins had no criminal warrants and no prior record.

But, 40 minutes and four officers later, questions continued.

"They said, 'Do you have any weapons.?'" he said. "I think out of respect for officers, if an officer says, 'Hey, do you have any weapons in your truck or your vehicle?' you should tell them. It's an officer safety thing."

Jason volunteered information that he had a four-ounce can of pepper spray he purchased legally inside his satchel in the cab of his truck. The spray is sold to the public, but marketed as law-enforcement strength.

The investigating officer, a young man named Officer Silas Hughes, said it was illegal to possess. That was something that even surprised his sergeant.

"Is that a prohibited weapon?" the sergeant asked Hughes according to a recording of the dash cam video.

"Yeah, you're not supposed to have it," Hughes said.

"Really?" the sergeant pressed.

"[You] can't have police-strength pepper spray," he said. "I can look it up in the penal code real quick. I can't remember exactly where it's at, but I know it's in there."

But, there is no such wording in the Texas Penal Code.

Simpkins, who the dash cam video showed was cooperative, said he couldn't believe what happened next, which was all captured on the dash cam video.

HUGHES: "You can carry stuff like Mace, things like that, like the little stuff you buy on TV, that kind of deal. This is a no-no. You can't do this."

SIMPKINS: "Really?"

HUGHES: "That being said, you want to turn around and put your hands behind your back?"

SIMPKINS: "Wait, wait."

HUGHES: "Put your hands behind your back."

SIMPKINS: "I'm under arrest for..."

HUGHES: "I've asked you twice. Number three time, turn around and put your hands behind your back."

Simpkins complied.

He was arrested and charged with a third-degree felony. Pepper spray, Wylie police alleged that night, is a prohibited weapon. A Collin County Grand Jury agreed to prosecute the case, but refused to indict.

John Duscio, Wylie's police chief, said the system worked.

"They didn't say the officer did anything wrong," Duscio said. "They just felt there wasn't enough to continue on because there is a lot of variance, a lot of gray in that law."

The chief admitted he has never heard of another case similar to it. But, he adamantly supported his officers as they considered the totality of the circumstances.

The exception in the law is vague, stating pepper spray is illegal to possess in anything "other than a small chemical dispenser sold commercially for personal protection."

"Is this one small?" Chief Duscio asked holding up a two ounce canister of pepper spray.

"Is this one small?" he asked holding up Simpkins' much taller four ounce black canister. "You might say it's small. I might say it's not. The law doesn't clearly state what small is or what a chemical dispensing device really is."

Wylie police tested the flaw in the law and lost. Simpkins said he is just upset it happened at his expense. He lost $6,200 in expenses related to the arrest and hiring an attorney, he said.

Since the grand jury refused to indict, essentially dropping the charge, Simpkins wants a refund and his record expunged.

Duscio said he met with Simpkins but would not divulge what was discussed or what might happen.

A call to the Wylie city manager, Mindy Manson, was not returned as of 10 p.m. Thursday.
 

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This just proves, to me, that you get legal advice from a lawyer and not a LEO, of which I am considered one, much to the chagrin of some.

Also, the place to argue the validity of an arrest is not the side of the road, but rather the inside of a courtroom.

Biker
 

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Funny, years back I bought a large container of OC marked clearly for Law Enforcement Use. Perhaps before purchase, don't recall the exact situation, I actually talked to a supervisory officer at the local dept. because the wording, For Law Enforcement Use Only, was concerning. He thought about it and replied that as far as he could tell that was merely advertising and the stuff they use isn't available on the open market, and he saw no reason why I couldn't have it.

I think what you have in the above situation is not so much that something was done wrong in possession of a 4 ounce OC can, as that the cops were clearly seeking out some excuse to hold this guy because to them he looked suspicious.

Good that the Grand Jury didn't indict. The rest of it stinks.
 

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This just proves, to me, that you get legal advice from a lawyer and not a LEO, of which I am considered one, much to the chagrin of some.

Also, the place to argue the validity of an arrest is not the side of the road, but rather the inside of a courtroom.Biker
As I'm sure it will be & the law will be worded a little easier to read ! PS That's why I Love FL. concealed weapons is not limitted
to sidearms Plus I Got some OC Sray the LEO use on brother
agency ;-)

H/D
 

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When I took my CC course, our instructor gave us a handout with the FL law for carrying a weapon in your vehicle without a permit. He was a retired LEO and said that Officers are the WORST at knowing the laws for carrying. The Florida law is quite clear and even has a definition of "container" so that there can be no argument. He suggested that we make copies and keep it in each of our gloveboxes, which I do (even though I now have my CCP). You can go to Handgunlaw.us and get your state's law to print and keep in your vehicle, I strongly suggest it.

When my wife took the CC class, her instructor gave another good bit of advice. He said that you tell the LEO that "I have a Concealed Carry Permit for the weapon that is on me." He said that starting off with "I have a weapon...." is not a good idea and I agree. He also said that if you have a permit, it is tied to your tags now so as soon as they run your plates, they already know.
 

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This is the sort of thing that makes your blood boil. Im good with officers acting in "good faith" and all, but could we not make a phone call in this case? I mean, when your sergent does not know what the law is you are in bad shape. Wylie is not a huge city, i get that, but you still have a district atty you can call and ask. Im not a big "get the cops" guy, quite the contrary, but these idiots need to be taken to task for just being stupid.

Of course I dont see it going anywhere unfortunatly :aargh4: :rant:
 

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the place to argue the validity of an arrest is not the side of the road, but rather the inside of a courtroom
The problem with settling it in court is you will then have a felony charge on your record.
A friend of mine was charged with a DUI but he tested 0.00 so the charges were dropped. Guess what? His insurance canceled him because he was charged with a DUI. Basically, a cop can do whatever he wants and you are screwed.

In the case cited above, it seems like the Sargent should have had some common sense if the deputy didn't.
Am I to believe NONE of the cops on the scene knew the law?
And the DA went forward? What, are they all incompetent?
 

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The problem with settling it in court is you will then have a felony charge on your record.
A friend of mine was charged with a DUI but he tested 0.00 so the charges were dropped. Guess what? His insurance canceled him because he was charged with a DUI. Basically, a cop can do whatever he wants and you are screwed.
I think the point is, the officer can do what ever he wants to do on the side of the road and there is not much you can do about it.
 

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In my state, I don't have to tell an officer I'm armed, and won't. It's none of their business. Their protection? I'm not a criminal, nor will I be treated as one for carrying in this great nation.


When asked "why did you tell me you didn't have a weapon" I can say "because I'm not required to" and will fight it out in court if need be. This isn't about being a stubborn anti-establishment person. This is about further protecting my rights. I don't need to turn a routine speeding ticket in to 4 police cars and a know nothing officer trying to turn me into a criminal.

No, I'm not saying that all police officers know nothing, but a lot certainly don't know our rights or the laws they're trying to uphold.
 

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Can someone tell me the purpose of notifying if you are carrying? For the safety of the officer? How? If I tell him I'm licensed and carrying legally, it means I have no intent to harm him. The perp who shoots an officer isn't going to notify him.
"Awe, shucks, I was going to shoot that cop, but he went and asked me if I had a gun, and dang it, I couldn't lie!"
 

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This is interesting because the police officer asked Mr. Simpkins if he had any weapons, and though Mr. Simpkins has a right not to incriminate himself, he doesn't have the right to lie to a police officer.

Let's say you are pulled over and have a can of OC and a knife on your person. You have a CPL, but you aren't carrying your pistol. The police officer at your window asks if you are carrying any weapons.

Let's assume you you are not 100% sure your OC and knife are legal (perhaps your knife is a fraction of an inch over legal limit), and also assume the police in your area have a history of arresting people for bogus weapons laws (and costing citizens $$$ in court fees).

How do you respond?
 

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But, 40 minutes and four officers later, questions continued.
This is what really gets me. They tried to find something this guy did wrong, and they failed. I repeat, failed. Yet, they kept on and kept on until they found "something". Just wore him down until he couldn't think straight.

This isn't Law Enforcement, this is a group of Storm Troopers telling this guy he's guilty until proven innocent, because they were wrong and refused to admit to it. I can see this sort of behavior in Mexico or some other country, but here? This will no doubt give the good LEO's a bad name in that area.

I hope he has some shark of a lawyer, sues the crap out of them and wins.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
In my state, I don't have to tell an officer I'm armed, and won't. It's none of their business. Their protection? I'm not a criminal, nor will I be treated as one for carrying in this great nation.


When asked "why did you tell me you didn't have a weapon" I can say "because I'm not required to" and will fight it out in court if need be. This isn't about being a stubborn anti-establishment person. This is about further protecting my rights. I don't need to turn a routine speeding ticket in to 4 police cars and a know nothing officer trying to turn me into a criminal.

No, I'm not saying that all police officers know nothing, but a lot certainly don't know our rights or the laws they're trying to uphold.
I agree. Here we have a guy that, after already being detained for 40 minutes, "out of respect for officers," gives up incriminating information about a can of mace that's stored inside a personal bag inside his car. Even after all that respect, he's handcuffed, arrested, and ends up with $6,000 in legal fees fighting felony charges, even though he was completely innocent of any crime. Revealing that you have weapons to a cop can be incriminating any way you answer the question.
 

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This is what really gets me. They tried to find something this guy did wrong, and they failed. I repeat, failed. Yet, they kept on and kept on until they found "something". Just wore him down until he couldn't think straight.

This isn't Law Enforcement, this is a group of Storm Troopers telling this guy he's guilty until proven innocent, because they were wrong and refused to admit to it. I can see this sort of behavior in Mexico or some other country, but here? This will no doubt give the good LEO's a bad name in that area.

I hope he has some shark of a lawyer, sues the crap out of them and wins.
There is a saying that people are innocent until proven guilty....However, from my experience, law enforcement officials treat you as if you are guilty and you are left to prove your innocence in court.

When I decided to get a CHP in NC, I realized how little I knew about the State's laws. After reading the NC general statutes, I now see that the majority of our laws can easily be misused by some officials private interpretation.

I once spent several hours on the side of a road with a State Trooper that decided to get his books out in order to find an infraction that he could charge me with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
This is interesting because the police officer asked Mr. Simpkins if he had any weapons, and though Mr. Simpkins has a right not to incriminate himself, he doesn't have the right to lie to a police officer.

Let's say you are pulled over and have a can of OC and a knife on your person. You have a CPL, but you aren't carrying your pistol. The police officer at your window asks if you are carrying any weapons.

Let's assume you you are not 100% sure your OC and knife are legal (perhaps your knife is a fraction of an inch over legal limit), and also assume the police in your area have a history of arresting people for bogus weapons laws (and costing citizens $$$ in court fees).

How do you respond?
I've been through this discussion a few times before. At this point, you may be damned regardless of how you answer the question. We've seen here what can happen if you answer yes. If you say no, well especially since you have a CHL, that's suspicious. That might justify pulling you out of the car, handcuffing you, body search on the hood, search of the car, and trumped charges when he finds the legally possessed weapon. Take the fifth, and oh my goodness, then this honest cop we had so much respect for is going to yank you out of the car, throw you to the ground, gun to the head, handcuffed, body search, car search, car impounded, hauled of to jail, instantered, and brought in front of the judge on trumped up charges. Pick your evil.
 

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The problem with settling it in court is you will then have a felony charge on your record.
A friend of mine was charged with a DUI but he tested 0.00 so the charges were dropped. Guess what? His insurance canceled him because he was charged with a DUI. Basically, a cop can do whatever he wants and you are screwed.

In the case cited above, it seems like the Sargent should have had some common sense if the deputy didn't.
Am I to believe NONE of the cops on the scene knew the law?
And the DA went forward? What, are they all incompetent?
The DA went forward because doing so creates immunity for everyone involved. The officers acted "in good faith" and the DA supported their actions with a prosecution before the Grand Jury. No "false arrest" or "under color of authority" issue here.

For those who are required to notify, do so with your permit and DO NOT "SPEAK" about the firearm. If the officer asks, you can choose to say you are armed or not. Be aware that in either instance the officer may choose to disarm you "for officer safety" and that this will entail a search of your person.

If you aren't "required to notify" then SHUT UP! when asked this question. Just ignore it like it was never asked.
 

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Hate that for him. I personally see NO problem with any law abiding person having pepper spray - it's the BG's who I don't like having that or any other weapon.

I also - from what was written - think the officer was overzealous. Myself and other LEO friends would have let the guy go as long as there wasn't something going on that I don't seee in the above reading....
 

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This just proves, to me, that you get legal advice from a lawyer and not a LEO, of which I am considered one, much to the chagrin of some.

Also, the place to argue the validity of an arrest is not the side of the road, but rather the inside of a courtroom.
BINGO!!!! ^^

Folks need to get it into their mind and hearts.
Arguing at the side of the road with a police does not win you anything but bracelets. Period. At the very least.
If not being tased, sprayed, clubbed attacked by a 'police' dog or even shot. Period.

Recognize.

You have a beef or disagreement with a road officer.
Fine.
He wants you to turn around so as to size you up for restriction and detention if not arrest.
Comply.
Save the lip flappin' and 'Umm but officer you are wrong/mistaken' convo for the bench judge.

Simple.

As well do not never ever for no reason take legal advice from a LEO.
No disrespect to LEOs. But jeebus how many tales of woe does one have to read and hear of to understand this to simply be a bad idea. especially when said LEO is the one holding bracelets and initiating conversation with; "Turn around and put your hands behind your head" type talk.

Stupid.

You know your rights. Great.
Tell it to the judge and/or your attorney.

BTW stating to anyone at all anything about yeah I know this looks bad and other such non-sense is unwise as well.
If you own something then well you own it. He could be towing the snowmobile as inside the back of a station wagon. Neither is unlawful nor unheard of. There is no question as long as otherwise it's road safe and transport laws proper.

Act like you know.

- Janq
 
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