Traffic Stop While Carrying In Colorado

U.S Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Doug Richards:

If a police officer stops you for running a red light or speeding and they come up to your window, what I do is I give them my concealed handgun license and my driver’s license and registration at the same time.  Now, in a lot of counties here in Colorado, you don’t have to present your concealed handgun license when you are facing a police officer. In Denver County you do.  But in many states or many counties you don’t have to do that.

Now, I think the best practice is to do it because if the police officer later finds out that you have a concealed handgun license and didn’t tell them, they’re going to be nervous because they’re going to know that you’re armed or they’re going to think you’re armed and the whole traffic stop is going to take on a much different it’s just going to be a lot more tense. So, what I recommend doing is advising the police officer from the get-go, Officer,

for your safety and for mine, I’m letting you know that I’m a concealed handgun license holder.  I’m letting you know that I’m either armed or not armed.  And if I’m armed, my firearm is wherever it is, and letting the officer know that you’re not going to make any sudden movements and you’re certainly not going to be reaching for that firearm during the traffic stop.

Now, the police officer — if the police officer has probable cause to either arrest you or to search your car, they don’t have to go and get a separate warrant. It’s different than if they were trying to search a house or a garage or something that’s stationary.  But because a car can be moved around, there’s an automobile exception.  So, all the officer has to do is have probable cause in order to get into the car to search it for evidence of a crime or be

prepared to arrest you and search the car pursuant to an inventory search following that arrest.  And in those situations, they don’t have to have a warrant to get into your car.