LABOR DAY WEEKEND EDITION: What Do You Need To Know During A Police Traffic Stop?
Most people share a general sense of anxiety when they see blue lights flashing in their rear-view mirror. If you’re like me, when the blue lights come on your heart starts beating 100 mph, you start sweating, and your mind is racing. Here are some helpful pointers on how to interact with a police officer during a traffic stop.
WHEN YOU SEE THE “BLUE LIGHTS”
1) Slow down and pull over as quickly as possible. You never want to give the officer the impression that you’re attempting to get away. Also, you don’t want to slam on the brakes immediately. Find a safe location (parking lot, driveway, open area on the side of the road, etc..) and pull over.
2) Roll down your window, turn off your car, place the keys on the dashboard, and have your driver’s license ready to hand to the Officer. Obviously, if a police officer pulls you over he/she is going to want to speak with you. It’s always a good idea to go ahead and roll your window down as soon as possible. You wouldn’t want the officer to think that you’re having difficulty with the simple task of rolling your window down. So go ahead and do that first.
Placing your keys on the dashboard will put the officer at ease that you’re not going to take off. A calm Officer can sometimes be the difference in going to jail and going home.
In addition, the Officers are trained to see if you have difficulty locating your driver’s license. To many officers, the fact that you are nervous and may not be able to find your license right away is not normal and instead is an indication you’re drunk. So go ahead and eliminate that assumption immediately.
3) Let the Officer speak first. The Officer is trained to get you to admit to the crime he/she thinks you’ve committed. So a common question an Officer will ask is: “do you know why I pulled you over?” A lot of people will say: “Yes, I was (insert traffic offense).” If the Officer is recording your conversation, then there is a strong possibility that statement will be used against in court. So go ahead and answer the question with an affirmative “no.” It’s the Officers burden to prove you guilty of the alleged offense and not your burden to proof yourself innocent.
4) BE POLITE! This is the key to any interaction with a police officer. If you are a jerk to the Officer the chances of you getting a ticket and/or getting arrested go up significantly. Sometimes a police officer can say things that are rude or inconsiderate. Take the high road. Remember, on the road he feels like he is in charge and has the ability to really mess up your day. You’ll have the final say if the case goes to court. So don’t make it easier for the Officer. Just be polite and your behavior won’t be used against you at a later date.
If you end up with blue lights in your rear view mirror, try some of the tips listed above. We hope that no one ends up getting ticketed or, even worse, arrested.
Labor Day weekend is a great chance to relax and enjoy time with friends and family. With so many people on the road, you can almost guarantee that the police will be out in force. So be careful and have a great weekend.