5 Smart Tips When Pulled Over by a Cop
If you’re driving along and suddenly you see police flashing lights in your rearview mirror, it means one of two things: get out of the way or you’re being pulled over on the road. Sometimes the issue is even more obvious; the officer is using his or speaker to tell you to pull over. Here are five key tips to follow when your ticket is up, no pun intended:
- Drive Safely and Pull Over as Soon as Possible
Police tend to be prepared to chase a person if the car followed doesn’t stop, so you don’t want to start off the interaction badly. An Asheboro NC traffic lawyer would advise pulling over as soon as you can but do so safely. Don’t use fast or erratic driving or crazy lane changes. Do everything smoothly using your turn signals, bring the car to a stop, stay in your driver’s seat and turn off the car. All of these indicators will show the officer you are in full compliance while he or she runs your license plate and reports the event to dispatch.
- Prepare to Discuss
Open your driver’s window enough to talk clearly and have your driver’s license and car registration ready. A Lexington NC traffic lawyer notes having your documents behind your driver’s side sunvisor for easy reach is a smart move. While waiting, keep your hands visible or on the steering wheel. Again, police officers are trained to anticipate problems at traffic stops, so don’t give them a reason to be antsy about wondering where your hands are. Stay in your seat with the seat belt on unless directed by the officer otherwise.
- Shelve your Ego & Be Cooperative
Per the advice of a Reidsville NC traffic lawyer, a traffic stop is not the time to pop an attitude. Stay quiet, only talk to ask the officer why you were pulled over, and follow instructions. Do not admit anything or agree to anything. Simply provide any identification requested and wait for further instructions. If you have to reach for something, tell the officer first what you are doing and then move slowly. Do not act erratically.
- Decide Intelligently How to Handle Search Requests
Generally, the police can view and evaluate what they can see through a window or is in the open. They are not allowed without a search warrant or probable cause to arbitrarily open closed gloveboxes, bags or car trunks without your permission or an obvious reason, i.e. something visible hanging out. However, an officer can ask a driver for permission to search. You can always refuse, but the officer can also detain you or arrest you and search the car later if he or she has probable cause or a warrant, according to a Winston Salem NC traffic lawyer. You have to decide whether sitting at the local police station until cleared is worth your time for nothing. If you have nothing to worry about, cooperation generally makes things easier and avoids detention.
- Don’t Fuss Over Signing the Ticket
The police officer will issue a ticket if a traffic violation has occurred or likely occurred. As the driver, you are obligated to sign it and then get a copy right there. A Rockingham County traffic lawyer will agree signing does not equate to agreeing to guilt. It is an acknowledgement of the ticket and to appear in traffic court. Don’t make the mistake of refusing and then getting yourself detained for being a pain on the road. Always be cooperative, polite and responsive, even if you feel insulted. You can pursue recovery later with an attorney in court, like the Law Office of Tony Huynh if your rights have been violated. This has become much easier now with body cams and required police car cameras to record everything, as many a Reidsville traffic lawyer knows.
Traffic stops are a very common form of law enforcement, but 99 percent of them happen without problems. Make it easy for you and the police officer by following the above and always being cooperative and patient.