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Some advice: Cooperate if stopped for a traffic violation

Although no one likes getting a ticket or citation for a traffic offense, today’s story provides an example of what not to do during a traffic stop.

According to the arrest report, local New York City police observed actor Alec Baldwin riding against traffic in lower Manhattan. However, that alleged traffic offense is not the reason that Baldwin was arrested. Instead, it seems that the actor’s own behavior after the stop led to his arrest on a disorderly conduct charge.

Police claim that they stopped the actor and requested his identification. Apparently, the officers are not fans of the television show “30 Rock,” nor did they recognize Baldwin from any of his movies. Although an actor might be disappointed by that lack of recognition, an eyewitness to the scene claims that Baldwin quickly became very loud. Police claim that Baldwin started yelling profanities at them. They took control of the situation by handcuffing Baldwin and confiscating his bike. Back at the station, the actor was charged with disorderly conduct and given a court date.

Given the crazy habits of some New York City drivers, it’s conceivable that the officers who stopped Baldwin might have been sympathetic to his desire to see oncoming traffic. Although bikes are expected to obey traffic laws, the cops may have simply issued Baldwin a warning, or perhaps given him a small traffic ticket. Either alternative would be more preferable to the court date and criminal charge that Baldwin ultimately received.

A criminal defense attorney who specializes in traffic violations knows that a strong defense might be available, even when only a minor traffic ticket is involved. Yet if today’s story has a lesson, it’s that such legal arguments should be made by an attorney in a courtroom, not by an individual in the heat of the moment.

Source: New York Daily News, " Alec Baldwin busted for disorderly conduct after flare-up with cops in Manhattan: police," Rocco Parascandola and Joe Kemp, May 13, 2014