Ten Tips All Drivers Should Know When Stopped by Police

The human race is not perfect, especially when it comes to errors on the road. The experienced traffic law attorneys from Azrael, Franz, Schwab and Lipowitz provide insight on how to avoid mistakes after being pulled over by the police.

Distractions often cause drivers to make mistakes on the road. Once an error occurs, it is important to know how to handle yourself thereafter. When the red and blue lights are swirling behind you, do you know what to do? Do you know what not to do? The following list will help prepare you in the unfortunate circumstance that you are stopped by the police.

  1. Stay in the car. Never, under any circumstances, get out of your car and start walking towards a police officer. Always remain seated in your vehicle and patiently wait as the officer approaches you.
  1. Maintain visibility. If it is dark outside turn on the interior lights inside your car. This will help to alleviate any unnecessary suspicion the officer may have towards you or your vehicle. Also, if your car has tinted windows open all windows to increase the officer’s visibility.
  1. Let your hands be easily seen. Make sure to always keep your hands visible and in unassuming positions. A good idea is to place them directly on the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 positions.
  1. Avoid making sudden movements. Never reach down under your seat. This will make the officer believe you are either attempting to hide something or reaching for something that is hidden, both possibilities will immediately set off the officer’s radar. Quick movements of any kind are always a bad idea.
  1. Get license and registration upon request. Do not reach for your license and registration until you are asked to do so by the officer. Quickly grabbing those materials may make it seem like you are rushing the officer or attempting to quickly get the process over with.
  1. Narrate your actions. Tell the officer what you’re doing after they ask for your license or registration. Doing so will put the officer at ease and it also confirms you understand their demands. “My license is in my wallet.  I am getting it out of my back pocket.”  “My license is in my purse.  I am reaching for it now…” are all acceptable phrases that warn the officer of your cooperative intent.
  1. Pull your vehicle over out of harms way. Make sure that you pull your vehicle completely over to the side of the road. This allows for the approaching officer to be further away from oncoming traffic and your consideration of their safety will not go unnoticed. Put it in park as you would if you were in a parking space. Many people get nervous and reach for their glove box without parking the vehicle, resulting in your car jolting forward on accident.
  1. Do not use your phone at this time. Do not pick up your phone to call a friend or parent, even if they too are a police officer. The officer wants to speak with you and no one else. Even worse, your phone could resemble a weapon or other illegal device.
  1. Accept and move on. Contrary to the belief, signing or accepting the citation an officer gives you is not an admission of guilt. However, refusing to sign or accept the citation is another crime completely. Sign or accept any citation an officer gives you and proceed to challenge the ticket in court if you truly believe you did not violate the law.
  1. Remain calm, cool and collected. Never act like you have a better understanding of the law than the officer does. You may think you are a lawyer (you may even be one) but the time to argue your case is in court. No matter how wrong you believe the officer is, remain calm, be polite, and always show respect. The worst thing you could do is argue your case in the street, in turn disrespecting the officer and disregarding his duties for the rest of the day.

By understanding these ten tips, you will be prepared in the unfortunate circumstance of being pulled over by a police officer. One mistake on the road is enough, be sure not to continue any ill behavior after-the-fact. For more information regarding traffic laws and dealing with the police, contact the experienced attorneys at Azrael, Franz, Schwab and Lipowitz today.