California Police Can No Longer Play Jedi Mind Games

Estimated read time 2 min read

Starting on January 1, 2024 a new law keeps police in California from playing Jedi mind tricks and asking motorists if they know why they’ve been pulled over. You likely have been subjected to this crafty little question as you’re sweating bullets after the cherries and berries appear in your rearview mirror. And while not every department or officer pulls this trick of trying to get you to immediately confess your guilt, it’s now illegal to do in the Golden State.

Watch police bust a security guard they claim was impersonating an officer.

The law, which passed through the state legislature as AB-2773, requires law enforcement to notify a driver why they’ve been pulled over “at the time of the stop.” Some are championing this as a victory for Fourth Amendment rights while others are cheering what it will do for social equity.

We’ve always found that question to be ridiculous, but a lot of police use it to get drivers to confess their sins, possibly telling the officer more than what was observed before the stop. Some cops even pull over a vehicle they just think looks suspicious, then ask the question to fish for probable cause to go further.

Any attorney we’ve talked to in the past on this topic has made it clear there’s only one acceptable answer to the question of if you know why a police officer has pulled you over: no. Make the cop work for whatever they’re trying to do. We’ve been counseled to never admit guilt and never apologize, but to be courteous and polite when pulled over. You can decide if that’s a good idea or not for yourself.

But if you live in California, you won’t have to deal with this question up front. Instead, a cop can just say, “Look, I pulled you over because you’re driving a Cadillac Escalade with spinners, so we know there’s drugs and probably more inside.” It’s just so much more direct, isn’t it?

There’s more in AB-2773, so if you want to read the bill for yourself you can here.

Just remember, there are other ways cops can play Jedi mind tricks, as clearly illustrated in this classic movie scene.

Image via YouTube

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Steven Symes

Steven Symes is an accomplished automotive journalist with a passion for all things related to cars. His extensive knowledge and love for the automotive world shine through in his writing, which covers a diverse range of topics.

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