Speeding, following too closely, and other minor violations could result in being stopped by a police officer. In most cases, you will be given a ticket or an order to appear in court before being sent on your way. However, it is important that you know what to do during a traffic stop to ensure that it doesn’t escalate into something worse.
Don’t Reach for Anything Without Permission
When the officer approaches your vehicle, it is a good idea to keep your hands on the steering wheel. You should only move them when asked to roll down your window or reach for your driver’s license. Moving your hands without permission could annoy the officer or cause that person to fear for his or her life. It is generally a good idea to inform the officer if you have a legal gun or knife on your person.
Don’t Say More Than You Need To
Generally speaking, you only want to acknowledge the officer, hand over your information, and accept any ticket that he or she gives you. The officer may ask if you have any weapons, drugs, or contraband in the car, but there needs to be probable cause to search for them.
If they ask you this question, it generally means that something is in plain view or that there is an odor of beer or marijuana coming from the vehicle. If there is no probable cause for a search, there is no reason to give anyone a reason to do so by talking too much. A criminal defense lawyer may help get evidence suppressed if you are charged with a crime.
Don’t Disobey a Command
If an officer asks you to step out of the car, it is in your best interest to do so. The same is true if that person asks you to sit on the curb or otherwise stay out of the way while an investigation commences. By staying calm and following commands, an officer may let you off with a warning even if drugs are found or a Breathalyzer shows that you’re too drunk to drive. Instead of going to jail, drugs could be confiscated or a passenger may be allowed to drive you home.
If you’re pulled over by the police, it is in your best interest to stop quickly and be polite to the officer. Doing so may help to reduce the amount of time stuck on the side of the road and the penalty that you could face for violating the law.
Author information: Anica Oaks is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.