Question from Brandon: In Colorado, if I safely pull my car over to the side of the road to observe a traffic stop and I’m not interfering or obstructing the police officer in any way, what law says that the police officer can order me to leave, and that I must do so if they instruct me to?
Answer from AI:
In Colorado, there isn’t a specific law that addresses observing a traffic stop from a safe distance. However, there are general laws and principles that may apply in such situations, which could give a police officer the authority to order you to leave.
Obstructing a Peace Officer
Under Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-8-104, it is unlawful to obstruct, impair, or hinder the performance of a peace officer’s duties. If a police officer believes that your presence, even if you’re not actively interfering, is obstructing their ability to perform their duties, they may order you to leave. Failure to comply with this order could result in criminal charges.
Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-9-106 defines disorderly conduct as intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing a public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm. If a police officer believes that your presence at a traffic stop is causing a disturbance or creating a safety risk, they may order you to leave under this statute.
Officer’s Discretion and Public Safety
Police officers have a certain level of discretion when it comes to maintaining public safety and order. If an officer believes that your presence at a traffic stop poses a risk to public safety or their own safety, they may order you to leave. Failure to comply with this order could result in criminal charges or other legal consequences.
If you find yourself in a situation where a police officer orders you to leave while observing a traffic stop, it’s generally best to comply with the officer’s request. If you believe your rights have been violated, you can:
- Document the incident, including the officer’s name, badge number, and any other relevant information.
- Contact a local attorney who specializes in civil rights or police misconduct cases for legal advice.
- File a complaint with the police department or other appropriate oversight agency.
In conclusion, while there isn’t a specific law in Colorado that addresses observing a traffic stop, police officers have the authority to maintain public safety and order. If an officer believes your presence is obstructing their duties or causing a disturbance, they may order you to leave, and you should comply to avoid potential legal consequences.