What to do when you are pulled over

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Regardless of how good your driving skills are, one of these days the big boys in blue are going to catch you. You are one day going to look in your rearview mirror; you are going to see the flashing red and blue. What you do in the next few minutes can be a very important in the determining factor of whether or not you get away without the ticket.

Before the officer approaches your car

Once you see that you are being pulled over, pull off to the side of the road. Try to park you car as far as you possibly can from the road to allow the officer to approach your car.

Once you have safely pulled your car off to the side of the road shut the engine off, and turn the interior lights of your car on. Roll your window down and, if it is during the evening or dark hours make sure that, you turn your hazard lights on. Place your hands on the steering wheel like a clock at 10 and 2. Some people advise you as a sign of total submission, to place your keys on the roof of your car. It is important to remember, to never get out of the car, unless the officer asks you to.

Do not try to put on or remove your seat belt at this time. If you do not have your seat belt on it is too late to try to put it on.

Relax, and calm yourself, wait for the officer to approach your vehicle. Try to avoid any unnecessary tension.

What to do when you are pulled over

When the officer approaches you

When an officer approaches you, he/she will typically ask you one of these two questions. One of these questions may be, "Do you know how fast you were going?", and your response to that should be, "No, I am not really sure." Another good answer would also be, "I think I was doing the speed limit." The other question that you may be asked is, "Do you know why you are being stopped?" Your response to that should be, "No Officer, I don’t." Your Constitutional rights allow you to remain silent, so do not admit to anything.

Save your pleas until after the officer is done with the basics, they will not speak to you until after they have finished the basics. When the officer asks for your driver license, registration, and insurance, before you reach for them, make sure that you tell him/her where they are located in the car and ask them for permission to get it. With what officers go through everyday, doing this will help to relieve the officer’s suspicion that there might be a concealed weapon in the car.

Once the officer starts writing that ticket, that is it, you are going to get it. He/she has to write it. He/she cannot void the ticket or claim that he has made a mistake.

Take note of your surroundings

While the officer is back at his/her vehicle writing your ticket, take as many notes of your surroundings as you possibly can. Every detail is important, even the small details.

Some of the information that you should take note of is, the type of car the officer is driving, and the unit number. Take note of the exact location of where you are stopped, and try to calculate the distance between where you were stopped and where the violation had occurred. Write down if you had any passengers and their names. Write down what you are wearing (color, type, ect.). Make sure you note the weather conditions. Take notes of the condition of you car, and everything the officer said or did during the traffic stop. If there are two officers, write down if the officer who gave the ticket is the same one who was using the radar unit.

That bit of information can be very important to your case. If you can, try to write down and remember everything that may be humanly possible during your stop.

What to ask for when the officer is finished with your citation

When the officer is finished writing your citation he/she will bring it back to you, and then ask you to sign it. Signing the citation is like signing for a receipt of the citation. When you are finished signing the citation, you could ask the officer to let you see the radar. You may also ask "When was the last time your radar gun was calibrated?" or "Where were you when you clocked my speed?" or "Were you moving when you clocked my speed?" Try not to ask these questions in a sarcastic or know-it-all tone. If the officer does allow you to see the radar, make a note of who manufactured the unit or a model number. If he does not let you see the radar or answer any of your questions, say nothing. He/she is not required to show you the radar or answer any questions about the radar.

What to do when you are pulled over

Leaving the scene

After the officer returns to his/her patrol car, he/she will usually be making notes on the back of the ticket so that they can recall them later on in court. Try not to stay too long at the scene because that will be memorable to the officer and you do not want him/her to remember anything about this traffic stop.

When you leave the scene, try to pull away safely. Do not try to spin your tires, and send rocks up into the air or create a cloud of dust.

Go on with the confidence that you may possibly never see the officer again. If you do see the officer again, it will be in a courtroom, under oath, and answering to all of your questions. If you follow all of the directions that were just given to you, you will just be another face out of the hundreds of faces he seen in the past month. There is a good chance that he/she will not remember you, and lose any creditability with the judge.


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