Anybody who has ever gotten caught in a speed trap knows the sinking feeling that comes with the knowledge that you're about to owe a lot of money. Try to save your fellow motorists from a similar fate, however, and you could be in for much, much worse.
Late last month, a Houston woman was arrested and jailed after posting a sign that informed drivers of an upcoming speed trap. She says she was biking by, saw the trap, and thought she would do a good deed by trying to save passing motorists from traffic violations.
The simple act of alerting others to a police presence isn't necessarily a crime. However, most cops don't take kindly to people who attempt to interfere with their work.
In this case, the woman was ultimately arrested for standing in the street instead of on a nearby sidewalk. She says the arresting officer manufactured an excuse to detain her. As is routine after an arrest, the officer searched the woman's person and backpack. She says he also threatened to arrest her for obstruction of justice, which is a felony.
Think Before You Intervene
Interfering with police activities can often have significant consequences. Although it may feel noble to save friends (or even strangers) from legal trouble, you could end up in serious trouble.
It is not uncommon for police to "find" a reason to arrest someone who interferes with police work. Even if you aren't obviously committing a crime, you could be arrested for obstruction of justice or disorderly conduct.
In addition, an arrest gives police license to search your belongings. If you have any contraband, you could be facing felony charges.
Source: ABC News, "Texas Woman Arrested for Warning Drivers About Speed Trap," Alon Harish, June 28, 2012.