California police can no longer ask you this at a traffic stop starting in 2024

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Potentially millions of California drivers have been asked the same simple question by an officer after being pulled over: “Do you know why I pulled you over?”

However, starting in January 2024, officers cannot start the interaction with that question and instead must state the purpose of the traffic stop before asking any other questions. The same goes for any stops conducted on a pedestrian.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 2773 in the fall of 2022 and goes into effect on Jan. 1.

According to the text of the law, the only time that officers can skip stating the reason for the stop is if the officer deems it necessary “to protect life or property from imminent threat.”

It was created to reduce “pretextual stops,” in which an officer stops a vehicle or pedestrian for something minor with the intent of searching the driver and vehicle to determine if a larger crime is evident, such as expired paperwork or possession of certain items.

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The law was also created to help de-escalate interactions between police and civilians.

The author, Assemblymember Chris Holden, said in a legislative committee hearing that the bill was created to “promote equity and accountability in communities…”

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The law also requires law enforcement agencies to monitor the compliance of the law and to include in reports the reasons for all stops that are conducted.

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