5 Things To Remember When Being Pulled Over By A Police Officer
There is nothing quite as stressful as being pulled over by a police officer. But it happens, everyday. As part of law enforcement’s duty to protect and serve, police are allowed to make a traffic stop when they have probable cause (which they must establish). Try not to take it personally!
The best thing you can do in this situation is take a deep breath and remember these 5 tips:
#1 Carefully Choose Where You Stop – Don’t be that person who stops in a busy traffic lane and slows traffic. This is dangerous to everyone involved, including innocent people nearby. Remember the Golden Rule here, do how you would want to be treated. Using your signals and/or hazard lights, pull to the right hand shoulder or off to a less-busy side street. Find as wide of an area as possible. Police officers do take note of how you park in their response to you. Are you halfway out in a lane or pulled off to a safe area? This is an easy first step to take.
#2 Prepare And Make Yourself Visible – Think of how you would feel approaching unknown vehicles all day for a job. Most people wouldn’t want to do it. Our police officers are trained professionals, but they are also human. Just like anyone, they will respond to your body language first. Make yourself visible. Keep your hands near the window and steering wheel and open your window. Turn the radio off. Establish eye-contact immediately, speak clearly and loud enough to be heard.
#3 Be Civil – Remember, you are just dealing with another human-being doing their job. Be friendly and courteous. Mind your manners and be mindful of your body language. ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ go a long way towards establishing a rapport with the officer. Calling an officer ‘Sir/Ma’am’ or ‘Officer’ after your response gives the indication you are showing respect for the badge. This goes a long way towards a positive rapport with this person.
#4 Do Not Try To Manipulate – The best answer to any question you may be asked is always an honest one. It’s a bad idea to start crying or faking injury at this point. Don’t try to make a story up off the top of your head. If you feel that what you might say could be used against you in the court of law, you have the right to give a deferral response or remain silent. Either way, whatever you choose to say at this point can be used against you, so the manipulations may backfire as it indicates suspicion and in some cases, may be used to press charges against you.
#5 Listen Now and Respond Later – You may be getting a penalty now, but those can be contested in court later. Stay calm and accept any tickets you are given & follow commands until the officer releases you. Call our law office afterwards and let us know the details of your incident. You’ll be asked to email or fax a copy of your ticket to our office where our legal team can go over your options with you.
The Knox Law Center has been representing people charged with crimes, including traffic violations, DMV hearings, and auto injury for over 40 years. For more information or to book a consultation, fill out the form or call us today!
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