You look in the rear view mirror and see blue lights. Your stomach begins to knot and you hope he is not coming after you. As the police car closes in, you realize that you are the one it is after. What should you do? Here are some easy tips to follow to make your traffic stop go as smoothly as possible, while protecting your civil rights.
- Using your turn signal, pull over to the RIGHT side of the road. The signal will help put the officer at ease that he will not have to chase you, and pulling to the right provides more safety for both you and the officer. Never pull to the left unless it is necessary.
- Do not make any sudden movements or reach for anything until the officer has approached your car. Keep your hands at 10 and 2 on the wheel. Officers are trained to be suspicious, and any out-of-the-ordinary behavior, even if completely harmless, can increase their suspicions that there is a weapon or drugs in the vehicle. A traffic stop always goes better for you when the officer is not worried about his or her own safety.
- Be polite and do not argue. Too often people try to debate their way out of a ticket. That is usually a mistake. Make your best arguments to the judge in a courtroom, not to the police officer on the side of the road. The last thing you need is an annoyed officer ticketing you for every little violation he can find on your car.
- NEVER consent to an officer searching your vehicle. Even if you are 100% positive that there is nothing illegal in the vehicle, you have a Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures of your person and property. By consenting to a search, you are giving up that right. The fact that you refuse consent to search is not by itself an indication that you are hiding anything.
- Politely take your ticket and be on your way. Then call an experienced attorney like Christopher Habenicht, who can help you fight the ticket and minimize insurance problems.
The materials on this website are meant for informational purposes only and nothing contained in this site is to be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should contact an attorney directly. Do not act upon the information on this site without seeking professional guidance. Information on this website about specific matters or success in previous cases is not meant to be a prediction or guarantee of similar results in any other case. Each case consists of factors and applicable law unique to that case and you should consult an attorney.