Civil Liberties

Texas Cops Wield Almost Unlimited Power To Arrest for Petty Offenses

And, oddly enough, the power is often abused


In Texas, people can be arrested for just about anything. In fact, speeding is one of just two crimes that can't get you arrested; the other is having an open container.

Elmer was arrested, not for speeding but for failing to wear his seat belt.

When the judge called his case, "he just bust out laughing," Elmer said. "He was like, 'He must have really not liked you.'"

Elmer lost his job, and he had to pay to get his car out of the tow yard.

He can thank Gov. Rick Perry and the U.S. Supreme Court for the nearly unlimited power that Texas law enforcement officers have to arrest anyone, even for crimes such as busted tail lights and unsafe lane changes not punishable by jail time.