How to Handle a Traffic Stop Safely

Police maintain order and safety on the road and have the right to flag you down if you violate traffic rules. While you may be anxious or worried, you must remain alert and understand what to do. Otherwise, you might break more rules or worsen the situation's outcome. Read on to understand what to do when police stop you on the road.

Pull Over at a Safe Place

The first thing to do when a police flags you down is to find a nearby safe place to park. If you cannot find a spot nearby, slow down and use hand gestures or lights to notify the police that you plan to stop. If you speed off or attempt to outrun the police, you may attract felony charges in addition to the traffic rule violation.

The ideal parking spots include road shoulders, rest stops, or highway break lanes. Preferably park as far to your right as possible so that you will not create a traffic jam. Finally, as you find a place to stop, restrain your speed to prevent confusion.

Keep Your Hands Visible to the Officer

After you pull over, place your hands on the steering wheel. If you have other occupants, each should have their hands where the officer can see. Also, switch on the inner lights to enhance visibility if your car's interior is dark.

You should always have your registration, driver's license, and insurance proof when you drive. Often, officers ask for the three documents, which could be out of immediate reach. If you must search through items to get the documentation, notify the police beforehand. Otherwise, the officers may misinterpret the search as a dangerous move — to which the officer is allowed to react. 

Cooperate With the Officer

Give any documents and take any actions the officer asks you to do. For instance, the police may ask for proof of identification or consent to search your car. If probable cause exists for why the police should search your vehicle, do not resist, as you may face second-degree misdemeanor charges.

If the police ask you to get out of your vehicle, do not refuse because you have no right to remain inside when asked to leave. Compliance makes the process easier since most officers can give warnings and exceptions to compliant drivers. Besides, you can save yourself the worse consequences of 'failure to comply' charges.

Be Composed and Respectful

You may get annoyed or anxious when an officer flags you down but remain calm and kind. Do not say or do anything rude since a lack of respect reduces the chances that the police will be lenient. If the police arrest you, do not resist even if you feel the detention is unjustifiable.

Be polite when you answer the questions but do not give more information than necessary. Remember that whatever you say can be used against you in court, and you have a right to remain silent. So, if you think that the answer you give will incriminate you, politely inform the officer of your right to remain silent.

Request To Speak to Your Lawyer if Needed

The information or advice you get from different sources may not apply in your current situation. For example, you can maintain good conduct but have committed a violation that calls for an arrest. In other cases, a misunderstanding between you and the officer could worsen the situation. If the police decide to arrest you, request to contact your lawyer.

If you have any charges against you, a criminal defense lawyer protects your legal rights and represents you in court. Sometimes you may also face an unlawful arrest, but you cannot always tell unless you involve a professional. Besides, you have a higher chance of success in court proceedings if you have legal representation.

Traffic violations could make you get a ticket or compel you to attend traffic school. Nonetheless, the earlier you establish safe road habits, the better your driving experience. So if you want personal or government-mandate driving classes, look no further than Tricountry Driving-Traffic School.


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