Three Document Rule

April 27, 2011

I just loaded a page to this site describing what I call the "Three Document Rule." Essentially, if you are stopped by the police and they start asking you questions you should ask yourself if the answer to those questions can be found on the three documents they are legally permitted to demand from you on a car stop.

The police are allowed to ask you for your driver's license, registration, and insurance card. If you are a concealed carry permit holder, there is additional information that you must voluntarily provide officers you encounter.

That doesn't mean that you can't answer any questions a police officer asks. If the officer asks if the car you are driving is yours, and it's not, then it's okay to tell him that you are borrowing it from whoever owns it. The owner information is contained on the registration card you are required to give. If the officer asks you for your address, you can provide it to him. That information is likely contained on all three of those documents.

If the information the officer is asking you is something outside the scope of the information you are required to provide, however, then politely tell the officer that you do not wish to answer any more questions, and ask him if you are free to leave. If he says, "no," then tell him that you will not answer anymore questions and would like him to advise you as soon as you are free to leave.

This sounds simple, but remember most people feel an immense pressure when they are stopped and questioned by the police. The police may ask you why you won't answer his questions if you have nothing to hide. It is tempting to respond with statements like, "nothing, I just don't want to sit here and talk with you." The problem with those responses, however, is that those responses will open a dialogue with the officer on why you don't want to talk to him, etc. It's best not to go down that road at all.

When an officer asks you a question invoke the "Three Document Rule" and you will go a long way in protecting yourself from unnecessary criminal charges.