Have any of you had any experience with people who call themselves "travelers"? They assert, when pulled over, that they are not operators of a motor vehicle, they are travelers and do not need a license to travel. They will assert that the right to travel is a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution and not a privilege therefore they don't need permission to travel. They do not have drivers' licenses and cite case law (much of it very old) on the roadside. They believe that a license to operate a motor vehicle was never intended for travelers but was intended of bus drivers, taxi drivers and operators of vehicles used in commerce. They claim that when they are pulled over and after they have given a Constitutional "lesson" to the officer, the officer will call his supervisor and the supervisor will tell the officer to let them go on their merry way (without a ticket, much less an arrest). I have had two conversations in the past three months with people who do not have drivers licenses and believe this stuff. They claim it works and are very adamant about it. If these people are ticketed, do you know the outcome of their cases? Do you have any firsthand experience with it? Are the cases they cite of any legal relevance? Are there any sources on the internet that could be use to rebuff this idea? Here's some of their stuff: http://political-resources.com/jurisdiction/driver_or_traveler.htm
[This message was edited by Steve Dixon on 04-21-09 at .]
I've never run into them, but wow! Do they care if the courtroom they're brought to has a gold fringe around the flag?
If I encountered them, I'd tell them that they're absolutely right, they have the right to travel and I won't stop it. They can travel as far as they want on their own two feet. If they want to operate a thousand-pound deadly weapon with an engine, they need a license.
Posts: 1114 | Location: Waxahachie | Registered: December 09, 2004
My very first jury trial was a traffic ticket appeal from JP court in county court. He had no driver's license and was speeding. The defendant was a Republic of Texas nut who wanted his wife, who was not a lawyer, to represent him. He claimed he had a right to "counsel of his choice." That was the whole point of the trial. To have that issue to appeal.
Posts: 514 | Location: austin, tx, usa | Registered: July 02, 2001
I guess, if they are just going somewhere, and not doing it for hire, they have a right to fly a 747 without a license.
But to answer your question: no, I've never heard of anyone around here making such a claim, and I've seen no case law on it.
My suggestion: check California case law. It sounds like an idea conjered from that part of a the world. Probably a crack team of prosecutors in that large state, have already spent the six weeks necessary to try a Driving With No D/L case and were successful in getting a jury to convict, inspite of the the Traveling Defense, and its gone up to the Calif. Court of Criminal Appeals for a definitive answer to this very interesting Constitutional Question.
Sounds similar to one we had. The individual involved claimed that he could not be cited for any traffic violation, because none of the roads in Texas are "public". Rather, all roads in the State of Texas were built on private land, which happens to be owned by this individual.
[This message was edited by DMS on 04-23-09 at .]
[This message was edited by DMS on 04-23-09 at .]
Posts: 20 | Location: Lynn County, TX | Registered: January 25, 2008
I prosecuted several of these RoT-types about a decade ago (one of which pursued his line of reasoning, without success, through the "pet. denied" stage at the CCA in unpublished opinions).
All of my more experienced DPS troopers had dealt with these people and were very helpful. You might contact your area DPS captain to see if he or she has any info for you. You might also try some of the teachers at the DPS Academy in Austin. (512-424-7214). Alternatively, contact DPS's main HQ in Austin and see if some of their attorneys in the General Counsel's Office can help you out.
I did tell one of the guys that he was free to walk and I did use the airplane argument but he said that that was a completely different matter that involved flying over private property. I should have asked him why he couldn't fly over highway corridors. These guys are very confident and if you ever come across one of them.....well.....I don't know what to tell you. I just hope you don't. One of these guys went to a party at his apartment pool and got himself a bit inebriated. One of the residents called the police and they came out. He was belligerent and told the officers that he was on private property and they had no right to make a call on his sobriety. He failed to realize that he was, at the same time, occupying a public place and subject to a PI charge. He was arrested. The day of his hearing he managed to marshal 20 or so like minded supporters. I guess the prosecution took one look in the courtroom and decided not to pursue the case. These folk went off and had a celebration. They stood up for their "rights" and won. They stuck it to the man. I suspect that this right to travel defense is rarely adjudicated. I suspect that most of these cases don't get very far in the system because they are not worth it. The bad part is that it emboldens them and makes converts. As Barney said to Andy, "you've got to nip it in the bud".
2. No supervisor would be called (my supervisor isn't called to a scene just because the violator/suspect/victim/whichever demands it.
3. Said violator would sign or go to jail, don't care which.
Can't let these types get under our skin on the side of the road, and I'm not having court, a theoretical Constitutional discussion, legislative historical action, or anything else.
Doesn't bother me if it's dropped, but it does seem like they would stop doing that to, as someone else said, "nip it in the bud." The more they get away with it, well, they more they get away with it and the bigger it gets.
Posts: 34 | Location: Matagorda County, TX, USA | Registered: January 17, 2009
Isn't this the same bunch of folks I saw profiled on 60 Minutes a few years ago? If so, they are essentially organized crime groups that move into town, commit a myriad of crimes (mostly burgs and theft schemes) and then move on to another spot - kinda like locusts. They raise their kids to do likewise and thus maintain the group ad infinitum.
The ones I've dealt with liked to quote the Constitution (only federal government can regulate "commerce" and they weren't engaging in "commerce"). I argued, in a short bench trial, that the Constitution in the 10th Amendment clearly states that any powers not given to the feds are reserved to the people or the states; therefore the states have the power to regulate "travel", highways, driving, etc. The judge liked it, and so far, I haven't heard from these types since. I expect I will again (with an interstate, you get all kinds). Don't you just love how much they like to bring in printouts from the all-knowing Internet?
I've had two of them in the last two years. Most recent was argument that no registration necessary if vehicle displayed a sign reading "private vehicle"! There is good case law on any of the arguments they come up with; most of this stuff was decided ten and twenty years ago, but keeps coming up. My opinion, if you let one go, you'll have a dozen more in a week. Sometimes, rural JP's get confused or intimidated by the arguments.
Posts: 4 | Location: Nacogdoches, Tx, USA | Registered: December 23, 2003