Traffic Stop: Some Tips on What to Do When You Are Stopped

November 24th, 2022 by admin Leave a reply »

Most Americans will be involved in a traffic stop at some point in their lives. The stop itself is terribly unnerving; seeing the blue lights in your rear-view mirror, wondering if they’re stopping you, then being pulled over, and sitting on the side of the road while everyone looks as they go by. From there, if you receive a ticket from the Police Office, now you are concerned about what detrimental affects this will have on your license and/or insurance. Do you have to go to court? How long will it take? What options are available? All questions that will run through your mind. For some, this is an unnerving experience, others it’s downright stressful. Either way, knowing what to do when you are being stopped, can help you minimize the amount of stress you may feel (and/or cause the Police Officer) as well as potentially avoid incriminating yourself more.

First, when being pulled over, always pull off to the side of the road at the earliest place available that you can while still doing so safely. Do not jerk the wheel over and slam on your brakes, this will only cause added suspicion on the part of the Police Officer. Once pulled over, place the vehicle in park and keep both hands on the steering wheel. Officers do not like to see a lot of movement from the person when they are being pulled over. Even though you may be trying to get your license, insurance and registration together, it’s better to just wait until the officer is at your car window. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the movement is innocent, but there is always the chance that the movement could be the driver attempting to hide contraband, or worse, obtain a weapon. Officer’s put their lives on the line every day and giving them reason to be additionally suspicious of your motives will only add to the stress of both you and the officer during your stop.

When the officer does approach your window, and asks for your license and registration and/or insurance, be sure to produce them without any sudden movements. Again, the officer does not know you, or your intentions, the more you can do to put their concerns at ease, the better it will be for both.

During the stop, DO NOT say anything incriminating. This includes answering the common question, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” Though most traffic cases are resolved without trials, and therefore no presentation of evidence, there still is no reason to freely give officers evidence.

Finally, ALWAYS be polite and cooperative. Aside from the fact that it is good manners, it will always reflect well with the Police Officer. Police have a difficult job as it is, and regardless of your opinion about the stop, it is never personal, and therefore they should be treated with respect. Additionally, the Judge and/or the District Attorney may ask the Police Officer about your conduct during the stop. You certainly do not want them to hear about you being rude to the Police as it could affect what plea deal you are offered (if any) and/or what sentence you receive.

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