What to do if you’re pulled over by police

Oct 14, 2020 | Criminal Law

It doesn’t matter where you’re driving or what you’re doing, there’s always a chance you could find yourself pulled to the side of the road by a police officer.

While this is a scary and often intimidating experience, there are steps you can take to control the situation and improve the odds of driving away from the scene without incident.

Here are some things you should do:

  • Pull over immediately: Don’t give the officer any reason to believe that you’re fleeing the scene. Once you see lights in your rearview mirror, activate your hazard lights and immediately search for a safe place to stop your vehicle.
  • Stay in your seat: The last thing you want to do is get out of your vehicle. Stay in your seat, keep your hands on the steering wheel and wait for the officer to arrive at your window. At that point, you can put your window down and follow the directions provided to you. The officer is likely to start by asking for your driver’s license and vehicle registration.
  • Don’t say anything: While the officer verifies your documentation, remain quiet. There’s no good reason to say anything, such as “I don’t know why you pulled me over” or “I didn’t do anything wrong.” The more you say, the more likely it is that you’ll make yourself look guilty.
  • Don’t give the officer reason to arrest you: For example, if you’re stopped for speeding and given a citation, you won’t be happy. However, you also won’t be put under arrest. But if you violate the law in some manner, such as by becoming combative, the officer may have grounds to arrest you.

These are some of the basic steps you can take if you’re pulled over by police. Doing so will help you maintain a calm situation, while protecting your legal rights.

If you’re given a ticket for a traffic violation, don’t pay it just yet. Go home, review the finer details and make a determination on what to do next. You may be best off fighting back, as doing so can help reduce the impact on your life.